Fanning Creative Thought: Semantic Richness Impacts Divergent Thinking

Roger E. Beaty, Yoed N. Kenett, Richard W. Hass

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Creative thinking has long been associated with spreading of activation through concepts within semantic networks. Here we examine one potential influence on spreading activation known as the fan effect: increasing concept knowledge leads to increasing interference from related concepts. We tested whether cue association size-an index of semantic richness reflecting the average number of elements associated with a concept-impacts the quantity and quality of responses generated during the alternate uses task (AUT). We hypothesized that low-association AUT cues should benefit quality at the cost of quantity because such cues are embedded within a semantic network with fewer conceptual elements, thus yielding lesser interference from closely-related concepts. This hypothesis was confirmed in Study 1. Study 2 replicated the effect and found an interaction with fluid intelligence, indicating that cognitive control can overcome constraints of semantic knowledge. The findings thus highlight costs and benefits of semantic knowledge for creative cognition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 41st Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society
Subtitle of host publicationCreativity + Cognition + Computation, CogSci 2019
PublisherThe Cognitive Science Society
Pages126-131
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)0991196775, 9780991196777
StatePublished - 2019
Event41st Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society: Creativity + Cognition + Computation, CogSci 2019 - Montreal, Canada
Duration: Jul 24 2019Jul 27 2019

Publication series

NameProceedings of the 41st Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society: Creativity + Cognition + Computation, CogSci 2019

Conference

Conference41st Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society: Creativity + Cognition + Computation, CogSci 2019
Country/TerritoryCanada
CityMontreal
Period7/24/197/27/19

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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