Old or New? Evaluating the Old/New Scoring Method for Divergent Thinking Tasks

Paul J. Silvia, Emily C. Nusbaum, Roger E. Beaty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


When people generate responses during a divergent thinking task, some responses are “old” (retrieved from memory) and some are “new” (generated on the spot). K.J. Gilhooly, E. Fioratou, S.H. Anthony, and V. Wynn (2007) suggested that old and new responses stem from different cognitive strategies and differ in key ways. The present research explored the old/new scoring method in a sample of 143 young adults. After completing unusual uses tasks, the participants classified each response as old or new. The creativity of each response was also rated by three judges and by the participants themselves. As in past research, “old” responses appeared significantly earlier in the task and were rated as significantly less creative by both the judges and the participants. Old and new responses, however, correlated equally strongly with predictors of creative ability, such as openness to experience and its facets. Overall, the old/new scoring approach appears promising as a way of illuminating the diverse mental strategies people use to generate ideas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)216-224
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Creative Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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