Penn State Penn State: College of the Liberal Arts
Roger Beaty

Roger Beaty

Assistant Professor of Psychology


Roger Beaty


Lab Affiliation:
Research Interests: 
  • Cognitive neuroscience
  • Creative thinking
  • Metaphor production
The Cognitive Neuroscience of Creativity Lab studies the psychology and neuroscience of creative thinking. We use brain imaging (fMRI) and behavioral methods to understand how people think creatively in different contexts, from the arts to the sciences to everyday life. We’re also interested in creative expressions of language, particularly non-literal language such as metaphor.
Research Opportunities:
If you’re interested in joining our lab as a research assistant – either for credit or as a volunteer – please contact Dr. Beaty (
Recent Publications:

* = student or postdoc mentee

2022 and in press

Merseal, H. M.*, Cortes, R. A., Cotter, K. N., & Beaty, R. E. (in press). Recent advances in applied creativity science: Introduction to a special issue. Translational Issues in Psychological Science.

Beaty, R. E., Johnson, D. R., Zeitlen, D. C.*, & Forthmann, B. (2022). Semantic distance and the alternate uses task: Recommendations for reliable automated assessment of originality. Creativity Research Journal, 1-16.

Frith, E.*, Gerver, C. R.*, Benedek, M., Christensen, A. P., & Beaty, R. E. (2022). Neural representations of conceptual fixation during creative imagination. Creativity Research Journal, 1-17.

Gerver, C. R.*, Griffin, J. W., Dennis, N. A., & Beaty, R. E. (2022). Memory and creativity: A meta-analytic examination of the relationship between memory systems and creative cognition. PsyArXiv.


Beaty, R. E., Cortes, R. A., Zeitlen, D. C.*, Weinberger, A. B., & Green, A. E. (2021). Functional realignment of frontoparietal subnetworks during divergent creative thinking. Cerebral Cortex, 31(10), 4464-4476.

Beaty, R. E., Frieler, K., Norgaard, M., Merseal, H. M.*, MacDonald, M. C., & Weiss, D. J. (2021). Expert musical improvisations contain sequencing biases seen in language production. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. Advance online publication.

Beaty, R. E. & Johnson, D. R. (2021). Automating creativity assessment with SemDis: An open platform for computing semantic distance. Behavior Research Methods, 53, 757-780. Awarded 2021 Best Article in Behavior Research Methods.

Beaty, R. E., Zeitlen, D. C.*, Baker, B. S.*, & Kenett, Y. N. (2021). Forward flow and creative thought: Assessing associative cognition and its role in divergent thinking. Thinking Skills and Creativity, 100859.

Cosgrove, A. L.*, Kenett, Y. N., Beaty, R. E., & Diaz, M. T. (2021). Quantifying flexibility in thought: The resiliency of semantic networks differs across the lifespan. Cognition211, 104631.

Denervaud, S.*, Christensen, A. P., Kenett, Y. N., & Beaty, R. E. (2021). Education shapes the structure of semantic memory and impacts creative thinking. npj Science of Learning, 6(1), 1-7.

Gross, M. E., Smith, A. P., Graveline, Y. M., Beaty, R. E., Schooler, J. W., & Seli, P. (2021). Comparing the phenomenological qualities of stimulus-independent thought, stimulus-dependent thought and dreams using experience sampling. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B376(1817), 20190694.

Frith, E.*, Elbich, D.*, Christensen, A. P., Rosenberg, M. D., Chen, Q., Silvia, P., … & Beaty, R. E. (2021). Intelligence and creativity share a common cognitive and neural basis. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 150(4), 609-632.

Frith, E.*, Kane, M. J., Welhaf, M. S., Christensen, A. P., Silvia, P. J., & Beaty, R. E. (2021). Keeping creativity under control: Contributions of attention control and fluid intelligence to divergent thinking. Creativity Research Journal, 33(2), 138-157.

Li, Y.*, Kenett, Y. N., Hu, W., & Beaty, R. E. (2021). Flexible semantic network structure supports the production of creative metaphor. Creativity Research Journal, 1-20.

Orwig, W., Diez, I., Bueichekú, E., Vannini, P., Beaty, R. E., & Sepulcre, J. (2021). Cortical networks of creative ability trace gene expression profiles of synaptic plasticity in the human brain. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 423.

Orwig, W., Diez, I., Vannini, P., Beaty, R. E., & Sepulcre, J. (2021). Creative connections: Computational semantic distance captures individual creativity and resting-state functional connectivity. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience33, 499-509.

Ren, Z., Daker, R. J., Shi, L., Sun, J., Beaty, R. E., Wu, X., … & Qiu, J. (2021). Connectome-based predictive modeling of creativity anxiety. NeuroImage225, 117469.

Seli, P., O’Neill, K., Carriere, J. S., Smilek, D., Beaty, R. E., & Schacter, D. L. (2021). Mind-wandering across the age gap: Age-related differences in mind-wandering are partially attributable to age-related differences in motivation. The Journals of Gerontology: Series B76(7), 1264-1271.

Silvia, P. J., & Beaty, R. E. (2021). When figurative language goes off the rails and under the bus: Fluid intelligence, openness to experience, and the production of poor metaphors. Journal of Intelligence9(1), 2.

Silvia, P. J., Rodriguez, R. M., Beaty, R. E., Frith, E., Kaufman, J. C., Loprinzi, P., & Reiter-Palmon, R. (2021). Measuring everyday creativity: A Rasch model analysis of the Biographical Inventory of Creative Behaviors (BICB) scale. Thinking Skills and Creativity, 39, 100797.

van Genugten, R. D., Beaty, R. E., Madore, K. P., & Schacter, D. L. (in press). Does episodic retrieval contribute to creative writing? An exploratory study. Creativity Research Journal.

Vergara, V. M., Norgaard, M., Miller, R., Beaty, R. E., Dhakal, K., Dhamala, M., & Calhoun, V. D. (2021). Functional network connectivity during Jazz improvisation. Scientific Reports11(1), 1-12.

Xie, H., Beaty, R. E., Jahanikia, S., Geniesse, C., Sonalkar, N. S., & Saggar, M. (2021). Spontaneous and deliberate modes of creativity: Multitask eigen-connectivity analysis captures latent cognitive modes during creative thinking. NeuroImage, 118531.


Annerer-Walcher, S., Körner, C., Beaty, R. E., & Benedek, M. (2020). Eye behavior predicts susceptibility to visual distraction during internally directed cognition. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 82, 3432-3444.

Beaty, R. E., Chen, Q.*, Christensen, A. P., Kenett, Y. N., Silvia, P. J., Benedek, M., & Schacter, D. L. (2020). Default network contributions to episodic and semantic processing during divergent creative thinking: A representational similarity analysis. NeuroImage, 209, 116499.

Beaty, R. E. & Kenett, Y. N. (2020). Mapping the creative mind. American Scientist, 108, 218-224.

Benedek, M., Jurisch, J., Koschutnig, K., Fink, A., & Beaty, R. E. (2020). Elements of creative thought: Investigating the cognitive and neural correlates of association and bi-association processes. NeuroImage, 210, 116586.

Chen, Q.*, Beaty, R. E., & Qiu, J. (2020). Mapping the artistic brain: Common and distinct neural activations associated with musical, drawing, and literary creativity. Human Brain Mapping, 41(12), 3403-3419.

Kenett, Y. N., Betzel, R. F., & Beaty, R. E. (2020). Community structure of the creative brain at rest. NeuroImage, 210, 116578.

Lloyd-Cox, J.*, Christensen, A. P., Silvia, P. J., & Beaty, R. E. (2020). Seeing outside the box: Salient associations disrupt visual idea generation. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts.

Shi, L., Beaty, R. E., Chen, Q., Sun, J., Wei, D., Yang, W., & Qiu, J. (2020). Brain entropy is associated with divergent thinking. Cerebral Cortex, 30, 708-717.