4. gruszka - Creativity Research Journal 2002, Vol. 14, No....

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ABSTRACT: This study examined the relationships between creativity and associative memory processes. Participants were shown pairs of words, with the instruction to say yes if they could discern any asso- ciative connection between the words, or no other- wise. The second word of every pair was preceded by exposition of a prime (200 ms). Positive primes were based on meaning or spelling similarity with the tar- get word, whereas neutral control primes were either unrelated words or nonsensical letter strings. Creative people differed from less creative people in readiness to accept word associations and susceptibility to priming. Two bottom-up cognitive explanations of the outcomes of this study are supplemented with 2 top- down explanations, pertaining to the motivational processes. This article is concentrated on the problem of how creativity relates to the basic processes of human associative memory. The cognitive approach to cre- ativity (e.g., Finke, Ward, & Smith, 1992; Ne ¸cka, 1995a, in press) consists of the study of simple con- stitutive elements of the creative thought, intended to account for creativity using elementary cognitive components. Such an approach may help us describe the complex phenomenon of creativity in terms of simpler, better defined, and experimentally well- operationalized cognitive processes. It also allows to combine two methods of empirical psychology, experimental and correlational, in the study of cre- ativity (Eysenck, 1995). It is well known that creative people associate Mednick, 1964). They make more associations, espe- cially remote ones, and they make them easily. Also, the slope of their “associative hierarchy” is relatively flat, meaning they typically do not tend to respond to the stimulus word with some specific, highly pre- dictable word. Rather, they are likely to respond with an unexpected, unpredictable association (Mednick, empirically well confirmed; therefore, the associative tasks are widely used, in addition to the divergent thinking tasks, in the assessment tools measuring the level of creative abilities (e.g., Eysenck, 1994). Asso- ciations are also popular in many training techniques employed to enhance human creative potential (e.g., Ne ¸cka, 1992; Prince, 1978). The question that arises is how the remote associa- tion studies can help us develop the theory of creative thought. One such theory was proposed by Mednick (1962), who suspected that two remote ideas may be associated because of their frequent coincidence in the past, because of the perceived similarity of the objects they represent, or because of the mediating function of a third idea. Koestler’s (1964) idea of “bisociation” is also referred to in this tradition. Creativity is certainly too complex to be confined to the associative mecha- nisms; however, the importance of these mechanisms Creativity Research Journal 2002, Vol. 14, No. 2, 193–205
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This note was uploaded on 08/12/2008 for the course PSY 301 taught by Professor Pennebaker during the Summer '07 term at University of Texas at Austin.

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4. gruszka - Creativity Research Journal 2002, Vol. 14, No....

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