The association between creativity and 7R polymorphism in the dopamine receptor D4 gene (DRD4)

Naama Mayseless, Florina Uzefovsky, Idan Shalev, Richard P. Ebstein, Simone G. Shamay-Tsoory

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Creativity can be defined as the ability to produce responses that are both novel and appropriate. One way to assess creativity is to measure divergent thinking (DT) abilities that involve generating multiple novel and meaningful responses to open-ended questions. DT abilities have been shown to be associated with dopaminergic (DA) activity, and impaired DT has been reported in populations with DA dysfunctions. Given the strong association between DT and the DA system, the current study examined a group of healthy individuals (N = 185) to determine the role of repeat polymorphism in exon3 of the DRD4 gene in creativity. The results show that individuals carrying the DRD4-7R allele scored significantly lower on tests of DT, particularly on the flexibility dimension of DT, compared to non-carriers. The current findings link creative cognition to the DA system and suggest that DA dysfunctions in neurological and psychiatric disorders may account for impaired creativity and cognitive flexibility in these individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Article number502
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
Issue numberAUG
StatePublished - 26 Aug 2013


  • Creativity
  • DRD4
  • Divergent thinking
  • Dopamine
  • Flexibility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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