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Anaëlle Camarda

Ph. D


Ph.D student

Paris Descartes University

Inhibition, defixation, exploration : a study of neurocognitive biases in creative ideas generation

Supervised by Nicolas Poirel & Mathieu Cassotti


Creativity defined as the ability to think of something original, and adaptive concerning task constraints is crucial during circumstances in which individuals must generate new solutions to solve an unknown problem. In such circumstances, people propose solutions that are built on the most common and accessible knowledge within a specific domain leading to a fixation effects whereas other classes of more creative solutions could be explore. According to our triple systems model of creativity, the difficulty to generate creative ideas results from a specific failure to inhibit intuitive responses leading to fixation effect generated automatically by the intuitive and heuristic System 1 and activate the deliberative and analytic system 2 to explore more creative solutions. This model posits that inhibitory control is a core process to overcoming fixation effects and generating original solutions in a creative task. Therefore, the aim of this thesis was to provide empirical evidences in support of the triple system model of creativity by using an interdisciplinary approach from the field of experimental developmental psychology to the field of cognitive neuroscience. In a series of five experimental studies in children, adolescents and adults, we have demonstrated that 1) fixation effects develop with age and changes with the introduction of external cues such as examples of solutions 2) changing the individuals' representation of the creative task using a priming procedure can stimulate creative ideas generation in adolescents and adults, 3) overcoming fixation to explore creative solutions involves inhibitory control and the ability to detect that initial responses that come quickly to mind are not original, 4) this conflict detection ability develops with age during adolescence and 5) overcoming fixation is related to modulations of brain networks activations within the frontal and the parietal cortex involve in cognitive control and semantic associations respectively.


Kruse, J. A., Martin, C. S., Hamlin, N., Slattery, E., Moriarty, E. M., Horne, L. K., Ozkalp-Poincloux, B., Camarda, A., White, S. F., Oleson, J., Cassotti, M., & Doucet, G. E. (2023). Changes of creative ability and underlying brain network connectivity throughout the lifespan. Brain and Cognition, 168, 105975.


Camarda, A., Bouhours, L., Osmont, A., Le Masson, P., Weil, B., Borst, G., & Cassotti, M. (2021). Opposite effect of social evaluation on creative idea generation in early and middle adolescents. Creativity Research Journal, 33(4), 399‑410.

Bouhours*, L., Camarda*, A., Ernst, M., Osmont, A., Borst, G., & Cassotti, M. (2021). How does social evaluation influence Hot and Cool inhibitory control in adolescence? Plos one, 16(9), e0257753.


Osmont, A., Camarda, A., Habib, M., & Cassotti, M. (2021). Peers' Choices Influence Adolescent Risk‐taking Especially When Explicit Risk Information is Lacking. Journal of research on adolescence, 31(2), 402-416.


Camarda, A., Salvia, E., Vidal, J., Weil, B., Poirel, N.,  Houdé, O., Borst, G., & Cassotti, M. (2018). Neural basis of functional fixedness during creative idea generation: An EEG study. Neuropsychologia, 118(A), 4-12.


Camarda, A., Borst, G., Agogué, M., Habib, M., Weil, B., Houdé, O., & Cassotti, M. (2018). Do we need inhibitory control to be creative? Evidence from a dual-task paradigm. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 12(3), 351–358.


Camarda, A. (2017) Inhibition, défixation, exploration : étude des blocages neurocognitifs dans la génération d'idées créatives. [Doctoral dissertation, Université Paris Descartes]

Ezzat, H.*, Camarda, A., Cassotti, M.*, Agogué, M., Houdé, O., Weil, B.*, & Le Masson, P.* (2017). How minimal executive feedback influences creative idea generation. Plos One, 12(6), e0180458.


Cassotti, M., Camarda, A., Poirel, N., Houdé, O., Agogué, M. (2016). Fixation effect in creative ideas generation: Opposite impacts of example in children and adults. Thinking Skills and Creativity, 19, 146-152.

Cassotti, M., Agogué, M., Camarda, A., Houdé, O., Borst, G. (2016). Inhibitory control as a core process of creative problem solving and ideas generation from childhood to adulthood. New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, 151, 61-72.

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