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English Summaries (06/2017)

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Lauri Kantola, Tiina Pirttimäki & Miriam S. Nokia

Adult hippocampal neurogenesis facilitates adaptive behavior

New neurons are generated in certain regions of the brain throughout life. One of these structures is the hippocampus, which is needed for learning and memory. This phenomenon is called adult hippocampal neurogenesis and it is promoted by a healthy lifestyle, which thus maintains brain plasticity across the lifespan. Adult neurogenesis is a continuous and slow process: Neural stem cells are constantly proliferating in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus. Some of the newborn cells differentiate into neural progenitor cells and, eventually, through several stages, within about two months mature into granule cells. Only a fraction of the new granule cells survive and integrate into existing and new functional neural networks. Many functions have been proposed for the new neurons. It is possible that the new granule cells are important in forming separate neural representations of similar, but different events in relation to time and environment. Reduced adult neurogenesis impairs learning, and learning promotes neurogenesis, especially when the task is complex. It has even been suggested that adult neurogenesis might shield us from neurodegenerative diseases of the hippocampus that cause dementia. Adult hippocampal neuroge-nesis might play a role also in regulating stress responses. The role of adult neurogenesis in human cognition and behavior requires further research.

Keywords: adult neurogenesis, hippocampus, dentate gyrus, granule cell, learning, memory


Reijo Miettinen

The main trend in the study of creativity in the 20th century: intuition, insight and creative encounters

This paper deals with the development of theories of scientific creativity in the 20th century. It starts with an analysis of the theory of mathematical creativity presented by Henry Poincaré in 1915 and its relationship to psychoanalytic theory. Attempts to define crea-tive features of individuals by tests and develop creativity by training inspired by J. P. Guilford dominated the decades after the Second World War. The study of the creative work of Charles Darwin by Ho-ward Gruber published in 1974 was a turning point towards the sociocultural conception of creativity. Gruber changed the focus from creative episodes of insight to long-standing creative work, to social interaction and to the formation of conceptual systems. He also redefined the role of incubation and insight in the creative process. This redefinition was continued by Robert Olton (1979) and Rhona Oeche (1990), among others. The sociocultural view of creativity broke through in the 1980s and 1990s. Mihály Csikszentmihalyi presented a systems model in 1988, accor-ding to which creativity is ”located” in the interaction between an individual, a knowledge domain and a social field. In the new millennium the sociocultural views were interwoven with innovation studies that emerged in economics and in science and technology studies. These studies theorize interactive and distributed creativity and analyze how complementary knowledge and resources are mobilized to create something new in networks and collaborative projects.

Keywords: creative process, intuition, incubation, insight, systemic and sociocultural conceptions of creativity, creative encounter