Some patients with left temporal degeneration develop visual artistic abilities. These new artistic abilities may be due to disinhibition of the visuo-spatially dominant right hemisphere. Many famous artists have had epilepsy and it is possible that some may have had left temporal seizures (LTS) and this left temporal dysfunction disinhibited their right hemisphere. Alternatively, unilateral epilepsy may alter intrahemispheric connectivity and right anterior temporal lobe seizures (RTS) may have increased these artists' right hemisphere mediated visual artistic creativity.
To test the disinhibition versus enhanced connectivity hypotheses we studied 9 participants with RTS and 9 with left anterior temporal seizures (LTS) who underwent unilateral lobectomy for the treatment of medically refractory epilepsy. Creativity was tested using the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking (TTCT).
Results and conclusions
There were no between group differences in either the verbal or figural scores of the TTCT, suggesting that unilateral anterior temporal ablation did not enhance visual artistic ability; however, for the RTS participants' figural creativity scores were significantly higher than verbal scores. Whereas these results fail to support the left temporal lobe disinhibition postulate of enhanced figural creativity, the finding that the patients with RTS had better figural than verbal creativity suggests that their recurrent right hemispheric seizures lead to changes in their right hemispheric networks that facilitated visual creativity. To obtain converging evidence, studies on RTS participants who have not undergone lobectomy will need to be performed.
To read this article in full you will need to make a payment
Purchase one-time access:Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
One-time access price info
- For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
- For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'
Subscribe:Subscribe to Journal of the Neurological Sciences
Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
Already an online subscriber? Sign in
Register: Create an account
Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect
- Science and human values.Harpwer and Row, New York1972
- Creative innovation: possible brain mechanisms.Neurocase. 2003; 9: 369-379
- Functional correlates of musical and visual ability in frontotemporal dementia.Br J Psychiatry. 2000; 176: 458-463
- Emergence of artistic talent in frontotemporal dementia.Neurology. 1998; 51: 978-982
- Paradoxical functional facilitation in brain-behaviour research. A critical review.Brain. 1996; 119 (Pt 5): 1775-1790
- A model for the mechanism of unilateral neglect of space.Trans Am Neurol Assoc. 1970; 95: 143-146
- Practice parameter: temporal lobe and localized neocortical resections for epilepsy. Report of the Quality Standards Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology, in Association with the American Epilepsy Society and the American Association of Neurological Surgeons.Epilepsia. 2003; 44: 741-751
- Acute effect of anterior temporal lobectomy on musical processing.Neuropsychologia. 1991; 29: 703-708
- Discrimination and recognition of tonal melodies after unilateral cerebral excisions.Neuropsychologia. 1985; 23: 31-41
- Naming ability after tailored left temporal resection with extraoperative language mapping: increased risk of decline with later epilepsy onset age.Epilepsy Behav. 2005; 7: 273-278
- Anomic aphasia following anterior temporal lobectomy.Trans Am Neurol Assoc. 1972; 97: 291-293
- Torrance tests of creative thinking: manual for scoring and interpreting results, verbal, forms A&B.Scholastic Testing Service, Inc., Bensenville, IL1990
- Torrance tests of creative thinking: norms-technical manual, figural forms A&B.Scholastic Testing Services, Inc., Bensenville, IL1998
- Torrance tests of creative thinking: streamlined scoring guide, figural A&B.Scholastic Testing Service, Inc., Bensenville, IL1992
- Artwork before and after onset of progressive nonfluent aphasia.Cogn Behav Neurol. 2007; 20: 7-10
- What's inside the art? The influence of frontotemporal dementia in art production.Neurology. 2006; 67: 1285-1287
- Longitudinal and cross-sectional analysis of atrophy in pharmacoresistant temporal lobe epilepsy.Neurology. 2009; 72: 1747-1754
- Dynamic perfusion patterns in temporal lobe epilepsy.Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging. 2009; 36: 823-830
- Quantitative MRI of the prefrontal cortex and executive function in patients with temporal lobe epilepsy.Epilepsy Behav. 2009; 15: 186-195
- Network atrophy in temporal lobe epilepsy: a voxel-based morphometry study.Neurology. 2008; 71: 419-425
- EEG activity during the performance of complex mental problems.Int J Psychophysiol. 2000; 36: 73-88
- Approaches to verbal, visual and musical creativity by EEG coherence analysis.Int J Psychophysiol. 1996; 24: 145-159
- The organization of behavior.John Wiley and Sons, New York1949
- Seizures of temporal lobe epilepsy: identification of subtypes by coherence analysis using stereo-electro-encephalography.Clin Neurophysiol. 1999; 110: 1741-1754
Published online: October 31, 2012
Accepted: September 26, 2012
Received in revised form: September 21, 2012
Received: July 23, 2012
Published by Elsevier Inc.