Free Your Mind: Creative Thinking Contributes to Overcoming Conflict-Related Biases

Nardine Fahoum, Hadas Pick, Tal Ivancovsky, Simone Shamay-Tsoory

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Conflicts between groups are difficult to resolve, partly because humans tend to be biased in judging outgroup members. The aim of the current article is to review findings on the link between creativity and conflict-related biases and to offer a model that views creative cognition as an ability that may contribute to overcoming conflict-related biases. Our proposed model conforms to the twofold model of creativity. According to this model, creativity involves a generation phase and an evaluation phase, and these phases correspond to the neural mechanisms that underlie conflict-related biases. Specifically, we contend that the generation phase of creativity affects conflict-related biases by exerting an influence on stereotypes and prejudice, outgroup-targeted emotions, and ingroup empathy biases, all of which rely on the default mode network. Conversely, the evaluation phase of creativity, which is usually associated with activation in the executive control network and action-observation system, may be related to herding behaviors. Building on the shared mechanisms of creativity and conflicts, we propose that studies examining creativity-based interventions may be effective in promoting reconciliation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1566
JournalBrain Sciences
Issue number11
StatePublished - 17 Nov 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors.


  • default mode network
  • divergent thinking
  • executive control network
  • intergroup conflicts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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