Making creative metaphors: The importance of fluid intelligence for creative thought

Paul J. Silvia, Roger E. Beaty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

172 Scopus citations


The relationship between intelligence and creativity remains controversial. The present research explored this issue by studying the role of fluid intelligence (Gf) in the generation of creative metaphors. Participants (n=132 young adults) completed six nonverbal tests of Gf (primarily tests of inductive reasoning) and were then asked to create metaphors that described a past emotional experience. The metaphors were rated for creative quality. Latent variable models found that Gf explained approximately 24% of the variance in metaphor quality (standardized beta = .49), consistent with the view that creative ideation engages executive processes and abilities. The effect of Gf remained substantial after including personality (the Big Five factors) in the model. The discussion considers implications for the debate over intelligence and creativity as well as for the cognitive abilities involved in metaphor production.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)343-351
Number of pages9
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Making creative metaphors: The importance of fluid intelligence for creative thought'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this