Thin slices of creativity: Using single-word utterances to assess creative cognition
Ranjani Prabhakaran, Adam E. Green, & Jeremy R. Gray
We investigated the hypothesis that individual differences in creative cognition can be manifest even in brief responses, such as single-word utterances. Participants (n = 193) were instructed to say a verb upon seeing a noun displayed on a computer screen and were cued to respond creatively to half of the nouns. For every noun–verb pair (72 pairs per subject), we assessed the semantic distance between the noun and the verb, using latent semantic analysis (LSA). Semantic distance was higher in the cued (“creative”) condition than the uncued condi- tion, within subjects. Critically, between subjects, semantic dis- tance in the cued condition had a strong relationship to a crea- tivity factor derived from a battery of verbal, nonverbal, and achievement-based creativity measures (β= .50), and this rela- tion remained when controlling for intelligence and personality. The data show that creative cognition can be assessed reliably and validly from such thin slices of behavior.