Abstracts

Asquith (Sarah), Leeds Beckett University, with Anna Abraham and Suzie Wang

The relationship between creativity and wellbeing in young people

The relationship between creativity and wellbeing is a complex one.  On the one hand, creative practice is used as therapy for mental health problems (All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts Health and Wellbeing, 2017), and it has been suggested that creativity supports wellbeing by enhancing psychological flexibility, and helping to solve problems and achieve potential (Forgeard & Elstein, 2014).  On the other hand, research suggests a relationship between serious mental health problems and creativity (Abraham, 2014).  This study examined creativity and wellbeing in three cohorts of young people, aged 14-15, 16-17, and 18-20.  Participants completed measures of creative potential (the Alternate Uses Task), wellbeing (SPANE: Scale of Positive and Negative Experience, Diener et al., 2010; MHCSF: Mental Health Continuum – Short Form, Keyes, 2009; and SWLS-C: Satisfaction with Life Scale – Children, Gadermann, Schonert-Reichl & Zumbo, 2010), intelligence, personality, and a leisure activity questionnaire.  Correlation analysis using frequentist and Bayesian approaches found small but significant relationships between two divergent thinking measures, fluency and peak originality, and the negative emotions SPANE subscale.  There was partial evidence for a small negative relationship between fluency and the MHCSF.  Correlations between other creative potential and wellbeing variables were not significant.  The results are discussed in relation to the literature on creativity and wellbeing

 

Batey (Mark), Manchester Metropolitan University Business School, with David Hughes, Annie Moseley, Adrian Furnham and Courtney Owens

Antecedents of Divergent and Malevolent Thinking: Exploring Psychopathy and Openness-to-Experience

This study sought to explore antecedents of idea generation when prompted by either a neutral or malevolently goal-oriented scenario. Specifically, participants completed two, timed, real-world scenario Divergent Thinking tests, one novel test, termed a malevolent thinking (MT) test prompted participants to ‘inflict revenge’ on a callous flatmate, and the other, a standard divergent thinking test (DT), asked participants to generate creative revision techniques. Responses on both the MT and DT tests were rated by three trained judges. The development and rationale behind the new MT test is presented alongside four key principles to guide the construction of future tests of Malevolent Thinking. In total, 184** participants completed the MT and DT tests (in a counterbalanced manner), as well as self-ratings of an Openness-to-Experience and multi-dimensional psychopathy scales. We examined a dual pathway model, in which Openness-to-Experience was hypothesised to relate to DT performance and psychopathy was hypothesised to relate to MT performance. The relationship of DT and MT performance to dimensions of psychopathy was also explored. In accordance with the hypotheses the Structural Equation Model results showed that Openness-to-Experience effected Divergent Thinking with Psychopathy relating to Malevolent Thinking. This study utilised the Blind Variation Selective Retention Combinatorial model (Simonton, 2010) as an underlying theory to explain why Openness-to-Experience and psychopathy would uniquely effect DT and MT respectively.  ** Please note that by the time of the conference we should have data for 300 respondents to report

 

Bazhydai (Marina), Lancaster University, with Marina Bazhydai, Priya Silverstein, Hannah Thomas, Eugenio Parise, and Gert Westermann

Creativity manifestations in early childhood: explorative and innovative actions during social learning

Creativity manifestations in early childhood are difficult to pinpoint. While both innovation and imitation are considered the “dual engines of cultural learning” (Legare, 2015), studies of social learning favour accounts of successful copying, rather than novel deviations and unprompted explorations. Recent evidence suggests that explicitly pedagogical social demonstrations constrain (Bonawitz et al., 2011; Shneidman et al., 2016), while social modelling of divergent thinking increase broader exploration (Hoicka et al., 2016, 2018). Here we present exploratory data from a fine-grained analysis of children’s actions following social demonstrations, indicative of their propensity to deviate from faithful copying and engage in explorative and innovative behaviours. Two year olds (N = 31) interacted with two adults demonstrating two salient actions on a novel toy. One experimenter showed a simpler action in an intentional, but non-pedagogical manner, while the other showed another, more complex action in an explicitly pedagogical manner. Following demonstrations, children were equally likely to imitate both actions, but also engaged in high levels of unprompted toy exploration regardless of the type of action, with 44% of children accidentally discovering the other, not yet demonstrated salient action. At the transmission phase of the experiment, children were encouraged to teach a new experimenter how to play with the toy. Children preferentially transmitted simpler, non-pedagogically demonstrated actions. Regardless of their action preference, 45% of children also showed innovative actions created by combining the two demonstrated actions in novel ways – essentially exhibiting rudimentary tool innovation by modification (Carr, Kendal, & Flynn, 2016). Our results indicate that regardless of the type of social demonstrations, two-year-olds tend to explore above and beyond intentional copying and exhibit an early manifestation of innovative thinking, previously shown to be difficult to achieve in early childhood (Cutting, Apperly, Chappell, & Beck, 2014)

 

Buchalter (Eitan), Global Governance Institute, with Baptiste Barbot

Nurturing Creativity Amongst School Students

The proposed presentation will be divided into two sections:  1. The Guide Here we will highlight key aspects of the Nurturing Creativity guide that has been specifically designed in order to help primary schools use the art curriculum as a dedicated opportunity for nurturing each individual’s creative ability.  Specifically, the Nurturing Creativity guide focusses on enabling students to remain:  – Open to experiences (Feist, 2010) – Confident in their creative ability (Bandura, 1997; Beghetto, 2006),  -Motivated (Amabile, 1996; Hong, Hartzell, & Green, 2009),  – Knowledgeable and develop domain-specific expertise (Ericsson et al., 1996),  – Willing to undertake sensible risks (Beghetto, 2009; Sternberg, 2010),  – Resilient to criticism (Simonton, 2010; Sternberg & Lubart, 1995).  2. The Study here we will provide a summary and update of the in-progress intervention study that is documenting how the Nurturing Creativity guide is being integrated into a primary school environment.

 

Carruthers (Lindsey), Edinburgh Napier University, with Steven Campbell, and Kate Molyneaux

Optimising the Unusual Uses Test

In the context of divergent thinking, creativity is defined as the generation of multiple original, appropriate, and valuable ideas or solutions (Guilford, 1967; Runco, 2004). Divergent thinking tests, like the Unusual Uses Task (UUT: list unusual uses for a tin can; Torrance, Ball, & Safter, 1992), are one of the most commonly used methods of measuring creativity, and are considered to be predictors of creative potential (Runco, 2004; Torrance et al., 1992). Indeed, the literature sometimes presents divergent thinking as being synonymous with creativity, which undermines the complexity of creativity, but reinforces the influential status of divergent thinking tasks in the field. This stems from their development in the 1950s, with the majority of creativity research focusing on these until the 1980s (Kaufman, Plucker, & Baer, 2008).   Across researchers, divergent thinking tasks are inconsistently administered, which is a notable fragility in the field of creativity measurement. Wallach and Kogan (1965) used a game-like approach, whereas Torrance and colleagues (1992) preferred a structured testing session. Timings and instructions seem to differ from study to study. With the aim of identifying the most efficient and effective method of using the UUT, the presented research tests multiple variations in test modality (online/paper/spoken), time (limited/unlimited), and instruction type (‘be creative’ phrase present/absent). Early results indicate that task modality and instructions may not affect UUT creativity scores, but time limitations require further examination. Specifically, those without a time limit of five minutes took significantly less time to complete the task, and had significantly fewer responses, thus negatively affecting their creativity score. Complete results to date will be detailed on the poster presentation at UK Creativity Researchers’ Conference, 2019. This is likely the first part of a body of research that considers alternative variations of UUTs and their efficacy.

 

Carver (Fiona), Edinburgh Napier University

A randomised controlled experimental study to explore whether and to what extent positive emotions (PE) cause novel or creative thoughts (creativity) via broadened awareness in student nurses: pilot study

A pilot study is an important aspect of a research study to evaluate the suitability of the research design especially as this includes several elements (Feeley & Cossette, 2016). The findings from this pilot study will influence the main study.  The main study aims to investigate whether eliciting PE causes broadened awareness and therefore creative and novel thoughts (creativity) in student nurses. This will be done by testing the above hypothesis in a randomised controlled trial. The primary outcome will be change in the scores on the Unusual Uses Test (UUT) creativity measure and the secondary outcome change in the scores on the Remote Associations Test (RAT). The study will include student nurses from the four fields of nursing and all ages, gender and stage of training. All participants will be asked to complete a range of measures online at baseline (T1) including demographic details; the modified Differential Emotions Scale (mDES)  which will measure positive emotions (Fredrickson, Tugade, Waugh, & Larkin, 2003).The BA measures – the Global-local visual processing task (Kimchi & Palmer, 1982) and the SMS for state mindfulness (Tanay & Bernstein, 2013) will also be tested at T1 and again at T2. Potential practice effects with the inattentional blindness and deafness measures of BA, mean they will only be tested at T2. The creative tasks – the Unusual Uses test (UUT) (Torrance, 1990) and the Remote Associations Test (RAT) (Mednick, 1962) will be tested at T1 and T2.  All measures paper and online will be completed in a computer lab.   The intervention is an online diary which asks participants to record their daily achievements over a 2 week period. This will focus on the recording of positive events where the participant specifically identifies successful interactions in their everyday life. The control group will be matched for duration of the event recording but will document a factual account of the time spent on activities during the day. This is expected to incur neutral affect. It is expected that the study will make an original contribution to knowledge relating to the development of creativity and critical thinking in student nurses and add to the evidence base.

 

Christensen (Bo), Copenhagen Business School, with Morten Friis-Olivarius

Exploring the cognitive size, structure and life of ideas using sticky notes

This talk explores the development of ideas in how they are born and their rocky road towards a fully formed concept. While, theories of creativity have long been occupied with finding cognitive explanations for how ideas are born, little is know about the ‘life of ideas’. Studying the intricate processes in idea development is not easy due to the involvement of complex and often implicit cognitive processes. Here we use sticky notes content from stick-‘em-up brainstorming sessions as a proxy for idea generation and development. By tracing sticky note content across time, we explore the size and structure of ideas as they evolve and become increasingly more complex. We find that ideas do not spring to life fully formed, but instead arrive limited in size, covering only fragments of the problem space that is addressed. We find clear evidence of conceptual combinations and build-up taking place both spontaneously and enforced. We discuss how the findings bring new light to the mysterious creative process and identify special cognitive units in the form of small structured ideas.

 

Clarke (Elaine), Aston University, with Chris J.Wilson

Future Work and Creativity: A study of employers’ interpretation of creativity in the workplace and the implications for student learning

This research explores employers’ perceptions of creativity in the workplace. Global research undertaken by the World Economic Forum (Future of Jobs Report, 2016) showed that creativity had moved up to third place, behind complex problem-solving and critical thinking, in a list of ten key skills employers say they will need in the future.  McKinsey Global Institute’s report on the workforce of the future (2018) reports an increased demand for creativity.  These findings are further reinforced by the QS Global Employer Survey of 2018 showing that creativity scores highly as a skill employers seek, but which they are not seeing in new graduates.  This research aims to understand more about employers’ expressed future needs in order to bridge the gap between these and their level of dissatisfaction, enabling higher education institutions to prepare graduates to meet these needs.  When expressed as a skill in reports such as those above, creativity is included as a single concept, whereas it has many facets and manifestations. Our survey of over 3000 employers in the UK probes more deeply into creativity: their perceptions of creativity as a concept and an activity, the nature of creative individuals, how creativity is perceived and handled at organisational, departmental, and functional level, and how line managers claim to engender, recognise and reward creativity.  Directly addressing the question of creativity in graduates, employers are asked how creativity features in the recruitment and selection process, and whether direct inclusion of creativity in degrees is desirable.  Results of the research are intended to strengthen the case to increase the profile of creativity in the curriculum, and to provide the detail needed to design the most appropriate forms of learning interventions for students.

 

Cogdell-Brooke (Lucy), University of Surrey, with Hannah Thompson and Paul Sowden

Will deficits in executive control in stroke aphasia impact creative thinking?

There are competing hypotheses regarding the necessity of executive components in creativity. Some models suggest creative thinking arises through ‘flexibility’ that produces many different categories of responses in a task; more flexibility increases the likelihood of an original response. This route would require executive  control of the semantic network that drives retrieval of a variety of associations. Other models suggest creative thinking arises from non-executive, type 1 thinking processes, suggesting a release from executive control may increase creativity.   This research utilises patients with semantic aphasia due to a left hemisphere stroke. Their lesions affect prefrontal and temporo-parietal region, but extend to the executive system. They display comprehension impairments not due to a loss of knowledge, but through impaired contextually appropriate use of knowledge and an over-reliance on automatic, semantically related retrieval e.g. when cued with SALT they automatically respond PEPPER, despite the context dictating ICE is more appropriate (SALT on and ICY path).  These patients provide a unique opportunity to make a critical test between these competing hypotheses of creative thinking; executive process are said to be required to search and select novel ideas from the semantic system, however, some SA patients have shown increased creativity with researchers suggesting executive control restricts and constraints creativity.   A sample of patients and matched controls completed a variety of non-verbal and verbal divergent and convergent categorisation tasks to measure creativity of responses, accuracy of responses, and time taken. Preliminary results will be presented which suggest that despite deficits, patients are performing at the same level as controls in creativity of their answers, despite giving fewer appropriate answers. This will be presented alongside a test for semantic association to assess whether patients are responding with answers that are more closely semantically related compared to controls, and therefore relying on semantic associations for recall as previously seen, or whether they are responding with answers that are less semantically associated, which could be argued as more creative, than controls.

 

Colin (Thomas), Plymouth University, with Tony Belpaeme

Creative Insight in Simulated Animals

Insight (also called the “Aha!” or “Eureka!”-moment) is a core component of creative cognition. It is also a puzzle and a challenge for statistics-based approaches to behaviour such as associative learning and reinforcement learning.  We simulate a classic experiment on insight in pigeons and in chimpanzees, using deep Reinforcement Learning. We show that prior experience may produce large and sudden performance improvements reminiscent of creative insight, and suggest theoretical connections between concepts from machine learning (such as the value function or overfitting) and concepts from psychology (such as feelings-of-warmth and the einstellung effect).  Furthermore, we present a theory of insight based on intentions, which are regularities in successful behaviour. Using intentions allow for exploring across representations and behaviour simultaneously and over extended periods of time, thus allowing for a complete solution to emerge all at once for an agent with (analogically) relevant experience.

 

Colin (Thomas), Plymouth University

Creativity by any other Name

“Creativity” is (a) the name of a field, (b) a key-word when publishing research or applying for funding, (c) a phenomenon or ability described by competing theories, (d) a quantity one wishes to measure in various experimental and real-world settings, and (e) a contemporary mantra. This variegated usage has led to recurrent debates regarding the meaning and definition of “creativity”, and has sometimes made mutual understanding and productive collaboration difficult in creativity research.   Taking stock of definitional issues in other disciplines (life, intelligence, games), of philosophical work on definitions, of the “standard” definition of creativity… I propose we distinguish definitions of creativity from the wider “conceptual space” from which these definitions originate. A conceptual space is neither a definition, nor a theory of creativity. Recognizing it allows one to remain open-minded about what counts as creative, and to understand how different conceptions and definitions of creativity relate to one another.   I characterize this space in terms of novelty (originality, novelty with respect to an individual, to a group…), value (usefulness, appropriateness…) and dynamics (transformations of the criteria of value and novelty by the creator or the creative work). Examples from some of the frameworks and taxonomies currently used in creativity research (little-c and big-C, four Ps, five As, systems, the recent socio-cultural manifesto, etc.) show that this provides a reliable yet flexible foundation for mutual understanding across disciplinary borders, even in the continued absence of a single unambiguous, consensus definition of creativity.

 

Darby (Gerard), University of Central Lancashire

The requisite climate for group creativity training and how it is developed

Although research demonstrates that training can enable individuals to be more creative and help solve problems, there is little information about what makes this training effectual. When there have been attempts to explore this, the focus has tended to be on the content of the training programmes, rather than the climate that accompanies them. This study addresses this gap. Seven experienced innovation trainers were interviewed in depth about what kind of environment they aim to imbue in their training programmes and how they develop this. The interviews were reviewed through thematic analysis enabling common issues to be highlighted.  The study found that developing a safe environment in which participants are empowered to take risks and put forward more radical suggestions is the result of the interplay of a number of approaches. They involve the trainer: encouraging a diversity of participants and a diversity of viewpoints on the problem being examined; having an emphasis on activity rather than theory; and, when confidence and trust has been established, challenging the participants to be even more ambitious with their thinking. Fundamental to developing the climate was how the ideas generated in the training were treated and specifically if some were subsequently actioned.  This presentation outlines these findings and explains how seemingly small actions by an innovation trainer can make a significant difference to how comfortable participants feel about putting forward bold ideas.

 

Davidson (Claudia), University of Surrey

Dear JP Guilford …’: A letter of protest at the exclusion of artists in your 1950 address

This paper is presented as an imaginary letter of protest addressed to JP Guilford following his famous address that called for research into the neglected area of creativity. It argues that the research that answered this call overlooked the fact that Guilford only had certain types of creative people in mind, and that the aim of this creativity research was primarily the development of a scientific approach to identify and nurture children for careers in science and technology. Guilford’s call thus not only excluded the artist in its frame of reference; it also dismissed the wealth of literature on the artistic creative process. This literature was deemed unsuitable for inclusion due to its reliance on ‘vague concepts’ such as intuition, imagination and inspiration, none of which lent themselves to scientific testing. The result of this limited framework was that the resulting creativity theories only addressed the cognitive aspects of the creative process. i.e. the process was viewed simply as a form of problem-solving, effectively overcome by a combination of divergent and convergent thinking. The most problematic issue arising from this approach is that purely cognitive models were thought to account for all creative endeavours in all domains, including those in the artistic domain. It is only recently that questions have been raised regarding the unquestioned application of these models to artistic creativity, especially in the field of creative writing. Guilford’s call is thus now being answered by calls for a research paradigm that embraces both the cognitive and non-cognitive aspects of the creative process. One such research paradigm that of neurophenomenology; an approach that embraces both the lived experience of the artist and neuroscientific research into brain activity. As such, it potentially offers a far more holistic framework for future explorations into creativity.

 

Guo (Jiajun), East China Normal University, with Ying Ge and Weiguo Pang

The underlying cognitive mechanisms of the rater effect in creativity assessment: the role of perceived semantic distance and similarity mapping.

It is accepted fact that people often disagree with each other when they evaluate a creative product. One factor that may contribute to this phenomenon is people’s own creativity, but the underlying cognitive mechanisms of this rater effect are still a myth. Past research findings have provided evidence to explain the cognitive underpinnings of the creative thinking process, with little research connecting these findings to the subjective assessment of creativity. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the rater effect in creativity assessment on the basis of both the associated theory of creativity and spreading-activation theory. Three experiments were conducted. The aim of the first experiment was to test and replicate past research findings that creative raters tend to underestimate other’s creative ideas. The results of Experiment 1 confirm that highly creative people, compared to their less creative counterparts, tend to give lower ratings of originality and creativity for ideas that contain the unusual component. This tendency is more apparent when the products being evaluated are the combinations of remote ideas/concepts, as indicated by the results of Experiment 2, which suggest that perceived semantic distance mediates the effect of creativity on ratings of originality (Experiment 2). In addition, the findings of Experiment 3 indicate that highly creative people perceive shorter semantic distance between remote ideas because they have higher abilities in similarity mapping. The present study generally supports past findings with regard to the rater effect in creativity assessment. More importantly, the three experiments demonstrate that the cognitive mechanisms we use to explain the creative process can also be applied to interpersonal evaluations of creativity.

 

Hallam (Leslie), Lancaster University

Doing Creativity: Learnings from the Dark Arts

This thirty-minute practical workshop is designed to draw on both pedagogic techniques developed on a current Masters programme (The Psychology of Advertising MSc.) and approaches which have been evolved and applied within a commercial framework over many years against a pragmatic agenda (i.e. what works!). A brief introduction to some of the thinking underlying the practices, distinguishing ‘creativity’, innovation and problem-solving, will be followed by a hands-on experiential session to immerse participants in approaches to drive creativity, including hypnagogic play, focused visualisation, contra-handed communications and ‘consulting oracles’ (giving expression to non-linguistic/intuitive/system one processing).   Participants will be invited to draw parallels between their theoretical understanding, and the methods employed by practitioners in the fields of education, and the ‘imaginal realms’ of brand-building, behaviour change and communications, with the assertion that a wider platform can give a more stable base upon which to build future strategy in these areas.

 

Herbert (Diane), Buckinghamshire New University

How do creative individuals experience and cope with the process of being creative within an organisation?

Whilst creativity is seen as being a highly desirable business skill given the pace of change in society, the creative process can be uncertain, contradictory and a source of tension (Cropley, 1997). The purpose of the research is to better understand how people, working within a creative role in an organisation, experienced the process of being creative, to what extent they perceived it as being a source of uncertainty, risk and tension, and if so, how they coped with this. I was interested in exploring how it feels to be creative within an organisation, how creative people cope when situations were uncertain or ambiguous, and how the organisational culture fosters creativity and copes with the challenges of the creative process.   Data were collected by means of semi-structured interviews with a purposive sample of eleven individuals working in creative roles in range of organisations for whom creativity was a core business requirement. The data were analysed inductively, driven by patterns found in the participants’ experience.  Results from the research suggest that participants experience creativity at work as a paradoxical source of tension emanating from the conflict between their identity as creative people and the sense from their organisation that creativity was only valued as a means of making money. I have identified the paradox of commerciality and creativity as a powerful force in shaping the experience of the creative process at work, influencing the extent to which creativity is valued over and above its ability to generate financial returns. A conclusion is that, rather than simply viewing creativity as a process, organisations should pay attention to the conscious and unconscious messages regarding how creativity is valued that are being communicated by the organisation’s culture and behaviours.

 

Hill (Gill), University of Buckingham

Big C and diversity

Big C and the great minds approach is seen as one way of exploring creativity from a person perspective. Here the aim is to think about ‘the person’ in terms of the scholarship creativity researchers undertake. Conversations of diversity can be focused on three key questions. Firstly, as a field exploring representation of creativity researchers in terms such as (but not exclusively) gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, background and considering the impact of this. Secondly, thinking about our participants and the movement away from so-called WEIRD (Western, Educated, Industrialised, Rich, and Democratic) recruits. Thirdly, in relation to the examples and case studies used in our work and how this might serve to reinforce stereotypes around the creative person. In highlighting these questions it is hoped to stimulate discussion and reflection within the field; celebrating where we do well and identifying where further work can be done.

 

Ikoniadou (Maria), University of Central Lancashire, with Adam Mead

Ways of unlearning creativity in art and design pedagogy

‘To be a teacher is my greatest work of art’. Joseph Beuys (Beuys, 1969:91)  What does it mean to forget what we know as teachers in the creative arts and remain curious learners who are not afraid to expose our vulnerability and the limits of our knowing? How can we challenge academic and institutional ways of learning and teaching creativity from within?  Can we unlearn the notion of creativity and embrace the unexpected by ‘creatively’ planning for it? In what ways can we open-up known and unknown spaces of enquiry and experiment with non-linear learning processes amongst others, not yet defined? This poster presentation will engage with both concrete examples and speculative scenarios that propose to de-construct, de-colonise and promote the unlearning of creativity in the classroom.

 

Jackson (Norman), Creative Academic

Creativity in Practice : An Ecological Phenomenon

To perform any role requiring complex thinking and action involves being able to use perception, imagination and reason to assess a situation, decide what action needs to be taken then pursue it using appropriate behaviours, tools and methodologies, monitoring the effects and responding to feedback (Eraut and Hirsch 2007). This process is at the core of what I am calling an ecology of practice which enables a person to interact with their environment and the things that matter in it, to solve domain specific problems and learn and communicate their understanding through the creation of new disciplinary artefacts.   In the practice environment the motivator for creativity is the intrinsic desire to create value by solving domain specific problems, developing new situated knowledge and creating new cultural artefacts. The process involves ‘the emergence in action of a novel relational product growing out of the uniqueness of the individual on the one hand, and the materials, events, or circumstances of their life’ (Rogers 1961: 350). The ecological perspective I am offering is grounded in the proposition that, ‘A properly ecological approach ……… is one that would take, as its point of departure, the whole-organism-in-its-environment. In other words, ‘organism plus environment’ should denote not a compound of two things, but one indivisible totality’ (Ingold 2000 :16).

 

Jaeger (Garrett J), LEGO Foundation, with Zachary C. Burns

Profiles of originality: A uniqueness index built for divergent exploration any given prompt

Arguments can be made for and against the usefulness of assessment, especially with regard to something as elusive as creativity. We propose revisiting the usefulness of a commonly used calculation of uniqueness to help us understand the creative process by tracking the fluctuations in the originality of ideas produced during divergent thinking tasks. More simply, how can we better understand the generation of original ideas during divergent thinking tasks? In order to do so, we make the case for a continuous measure–not a dichotomous judgment of whether an idea met a subjective threshold of being creative–of how original any given idea is. One issue with assigning a value of originality is that the statistical infrequency approach (how seldom an idea was provided by a given sample) is problematic due to its sample-dependency, is conflated with fluency (number of ideas provided) as represented by traditionally high correlations, and offers little information about to what degree the task itself provokes divergent thinking. Our equation for uniqueness accounts for the distribution of popular ideas per task, which essentially allows any task to provide useful information about how any given solution to a task can be more or less original than others. A discussion of the positive psychometric attributes and assumptions of our uniqueness index will further detail its usefulness. We will then provide examples that highlight the flexibility of this measure by presenting how it can be applied across a range of tasks, contexts, and age groups. Finally, we will present qualitatively different fluctuations in the originality of ideas changes over time, and how these ideational profiles provide useful insights on ideational strategies and suggest ways in which educational pedagogies can impact creativity

 

Levstek (Maruša), University of Sussex (School of Psychology), with Robin Banerjee

Creative arts and young people at risk

Creative arts programs offer a promising way of promoting psychological well-being among young people, especially those who are at risk of social and emotional difficulties. Yet strong and precise accounts of the psychological factors involved in these effects are limited.  Our research addressed the role played by basic need satisfaction (BNS), as expressed in self-determination theory, with attention to comparisons across multiple contexts. The participants were members of two theatre organisations working with young people.  Using a survey methodology, we assessed the young people’s BNS at the creative arts programs, at home, and at school, as well as assessing their feelings of well-being and general self-efficacy. The results revealed that young people reported highest BNS at theatre, followed by home, and then school. Well-being was positively associated with BNS in all three contexts, but general self-efficacy was only related to BNS at school. Although the moderation analysis was non-significant, conditional effects suggested that BNS at the theatre programs tended to have the strongest association with well-being when BNS at home was low.  We concluded that engagement in theatre is positively and uniquely associated with well-being of young people at risk, and that BNS in this context might serve as key mechanisms underlying these effects. We are currently implementing further research that will expand these findings longitudinally using mixed-methods, and plan to include the emerging results from this work in our presentation as well.

 

Martin (Clare), University of Winchester, with Paul Sowden, Tim Gamble and Jonathan Nelson

Digital and Non-Digital Creative Ideation and Evaluation in an Everyday Creativity Task

How does our digital  world impact creativity?  On the one hand, we have access to knowledge and ideas from diverse sources across the globe that may enable us to quickly identify productive starting points for new ideas, which could facilitate creativity. On the other hand, the ready availability of ideas may encourage an over-reliance on the thinking of others, which could inhibit creativity. Thus, this research aims to understand more about how digitally available knowledge and ideas are found and used to produce new and useful ideas, and the relative importance of idea generation vs idea evaluation in this new context.   In the present study, 78 participants (45 completed) are being given the everyday task of finding a creative gift (Leung & Chiu, 2010). The task was chosen to reflect the little-c creativity possible in our every-day life (Kaufman & Beghetto, 2009). In a between groups design, one group of participants are completing the task with access to the internet and another group without access to the internet. All participants are completing the task in a psychology laboratory.      The ideas generated will be scored for creativity, elaboration, and the extent to which participants’ self-evaluation of the creativity of their ideas agrees with independent ratings, using standard scoring methods (Silvia, 2008;  Plucker, Qian, & Wang, 2011; Plucker, Qian, & Schmalensee, 2014). An analysis of co-variance will be conducted to test for the effect of group (digital vs non-digital) on scores.     Results will provide evidence on whether digital environments can benefit every-day creativity, in advance of further studies to address the effect of digital environments on the different cognitive processes of creativity and the individual difference variables that may moderate any effects. It is hoped that the work will inform better understanding of how digital environments can be used most effectively when thinking creatively.

 

Radclyffe-Thomas (Natascha), University of the Arts London

Creative parallels East and West? Crosscultural creativity in the 21st century

Crosscultural creativity research has sought to define how context and culture inform the practice and understandings of creativity and often resulted in binaries defining certain cultures as inherently more or less creative (Florida, 2014). Western definitions of creativity have recognised creativity in revolution, disruption and modernity and sought to universally define conditions under which creativity should flourish.   The majority of creativity research has taken place in the West and much of the crosscultural creativity research has been based on assumptions about individual and collective societies (Morris & Leung, 2010). In the post-industrial era governments and regions have sought to codify the preconditions for creativity and institutions have looked to the creative industries for new models of working that facilitate creative outcomes (CIF, 2018).    The recent past has seen the axis of innovation shift from West to East (Khanna, 2019) and leads us to question previous assumptions of creativity and its enactment and evaluation through people, process and products. Nearly a decade after Morris & Leung’s 2010 editorial Creativity East and West it is timely to review some of the core questions they posed about assumptions of Western superiority in creativity across education, business and the arts and reviews their conclusion that the West prioritizes novelty whereas the east prioritizes usefulness.  This presentation seeks to review and interpret existing crosscultural creativity research in terms of situated creativity (Radclyffe-Thomas, 2015) and provoke discussion on contemporary understandings of creativity by focusing on the what the author terms the creativityscapes of London and Shanghai.

 

Rose (Sarah), Staffordshire University, with Elena Hoika

Assessing Creativity Skills in Young Children

Although creativity, especially divergent thinking, has been studied in adults and older children very little is known about the development of these skills in young children. One reason for this is that there are very limited methods of assessing creativity objectively which do not rely on children’s linguistic skills.  The Unusual Box test has been validated and used in research with 1, to 4-year-old children (e.g. Bijvoet-van den Berg & Hoicka, 2014) to assess divergent thinking. This poster presents evidence of a new version of the Unusual Box test which has been validated with 2- and 3- year-old children. Data from 40 2- and 3- year-olds indicates that the number and novelty of actions each child made on the new, compared to existing, measure were highly similar. These findings suggest that the new box has good reliability with the original box. Secondly, this poster presents a new parent-report measure designed to examine one aspect of early creativity, problem solving, among 1- to 4-year old children. Two-hundred parents of 1- to 4- year-old children completed a 19-item questionnaire online. From this 12-items were identified which had high internal consistency. This 12-item scale was completed by a further 37 parents while their 2- or 3-year-.old child completed the original Unusual Box test. This indicated that children’s performance on the Unusual Box was moderately to highly correlated with the parents’ responses on the questionnaire. These initial investigations suggest that the scale is both valid and reliable.   Developing these new measures of creativity in young children will facilitate studying the development of these skills in young children. While the questionnaire will facilitate relatively quick and easy data collection from large groups of parents the existence of two Unusual Box Tasks will enable more experimental research in this area too.

 

Siamptani (Mala), University of Central Lancashire

A review on the current use of digital technology in design.

Design and digital technology is currently a developing area of research, nonetheless, there is a distinct lack of questioning in regards to what influence digital technology has on the creativity of designers. As a design practitioner I have witnessed digitalization not only innovating the field of design, but also producing new tools which evidently have changed the rules within these domains. According to Brynjolfsson and McAfee (2012), digital technologies are one of the most important driving forces in the economy today, thus an understanding of these phenomena and a discussion of their influences has to be developed.  As a field, jewellery design is heavily associated with traditional handcraft values such as labour, material and complexity. And such values are being challenged by digital technologies. MacLachlan, Earl and Eckert (2012) suggest that, in the case of designer makers, tools are embodiment of rules working alongside more conceptual rules and conventions, in order to transform a design problems towards a creative design solution. Thus designer’s knowledge of their tools is key to creative and successful outcomes. This poster is a review of the current use of digital technology and the effect this has in the field of design.

 

Spencer (Emily), Edinburgh Napier University, with Lindsey Carruthers

Creativity and emotion: an investigation into the effects of affect on divergent-thinking performance

Creativity is defined as the generation of original and valuable ideas or solutions (Gilhooly, 2016; Sternberg & Lubart, 1999). Comparably, divergent thinking (DT) involves linking seemingly unrelated ideas to form multiple responses or solutions to a problem (Guilford, 1967). The importance of divergent and creative thought at both the individual and the societal level is illustrated throughout a substantial body of research evidence (see Sio & Ormerod, 2009). Many procedures have therefore been proposed to enhance creativity. One effective procedure involves setting a task to the side for some time, and engaging in an ‘incubation interval’ (e.g., Baird et al., 2012; Gilhooly, Georgiou, & Devery, 2013; Gilhooly et al., 2012). However, the factors that underlie the effects of incubation remain largely unclear.  While the relationship between emotion and creativity is well established (Isen et al., 1987; Lubart & Zenasni, 2002; Yuan et al., 2018), few have explored emotion as a potential moderator to incubation effects. Of the few studies that have investigated the link between affective state and incubation, positive mood during incubation was shown to increase creative performance (Hao, Liu, Ku, Hu, & Runco, 2015). However, due to the time constraints placed on preparatory and incubation periods, and the brief exposure to emotion–inducing stimuli, the fluency of creative responses was restricted, and the potential effects of emotion were constrained. With the aim of identifying how affective states during incubation influence subsequent creative performance, the present research tests multiple affective states (positive/negative/neutral), induced by emotionally–appropriate videos during a five minute incubation interval, on divergent performance, as measured by the Unusual Uses Task (UUT: list unusual uses for a tin can; Torrance, Ball, & Safter, 1992). Data is currently being collected, and the full results will be presented at the UK Creativity Researchers’ 2019 Conference.

 

Strange (Will), Arts University Bournemouth

Dazzle Chess – Modelmaking skills as interdisciplinary practice.

Dazzle Chess was a response to ‘Dazzle and the Art of Defence’, an exhibition curated at Arts University Bournemouth (AUB). The exhibition introduced the history of dazzle disruptive camouflage patterns as a technique inspired by art practice, developed for defence, and established as an enduring graphic style. I was inspired, by learning of the role modelmakers played during World War 2, to consider how my making practice might develop in response.  My study of Creative Thinking has been inspired by componential theories of creativity, and has focused on defining the agreed skillset of professional modelmakers. I aim to confirm what skills we should be encouraging in BA (Hons) Modelmaking students at AUB. Alongside this, I continue to explore how my own (modelmaking) skill set might be applied to create other (non-modelmaking) outcomes. Through this practice-based enquiry, I explore how skills developed as an architectural modelmaker might be applied to other domains. Dazzle Chess is an example of this inquiry.

 

Threadgold (Emma), University of Central Lancashire, with John E Marsh and Linden J Ball

Normative Data for 84 UK English Rebus Puzzles

Rebus puzzles involve a combination of verbal, numerical, visual or spatial cues from which one must identify a common UK phrase or saying. For example, the rebus puzzle “BUSINES,” when correctly interpreted, yields the well-known phrase “Unfinished Business”. Rebus puzzles hold many advantages over classic insight problems (e.g the candle problem), notably in the fact they are relatively fast to administer and result in typically unambiguous solutions. We present an experiment in which we sought to validate a pool of 84 rebus puzzles for their solution rates, solution times, error rates, solution confidence, self-reported solution strategies and solution phrase familiarity. We also provide more detailed analyses that indicated solutions arising from a self-reported insight process were more likely to be correct than solutions arising from a process of analysis. Findings are also presented for the underpinning solution phrases, indicating that participants were generally familiar with the rebus puzzle solution phrases. The normed rebus puzzles form a valuable addition to materials for the study of problem solving and creative thinking across a variety of domains.

 

Toivainen (Teemu), Goldsmiths, University of London, with Bonamy R. Oliver and Yulia Kovas

Intrinsic motivation mediates the relationship between creativity at age 9 and educational achievement at age 16

Educational achievement is an outcome of many factors, including intrinsic motivation and creativity. A study has shown that reading enjoyment has a reciprocal relationship with the educational achievement in late childhood. Also, creativity is shown to be associated with educational achievement (r = .17 in a meta-analysis).               The present study, utilising a longitudinal design, investigated the mediating role of intrinsic motivation between creativity in writing at age 9 and educational achievement at age 16, measured as a National Curriculum English grade. The present study (n=400) utilised data from a large, longitudinal twin study in the UK, the Twins Early Development Study (TEDS). Creativity was measured in children’s written stories at age 9 with the Consensual Assessment Technique. Each story was coded by 5 independent judges for 10 dimensions, including creativity. The first factor with seven highest loading dimensions was named as Creative Expressiveness, which was used as a measure of creativity in the further analyses.      The results showed that Creative Expressiveness at age 9 explains additional variance in English grade at age 16. The relationship is partially mediated by intrinsic motivation (enjoyment to write), measured at age 12. Interestingly, the relationship held even above and beyond intelligence and English grade at age 9. This may be due to differences in English marking criteria at ages 9 and 16. Also, it is likely that emphasising the technical skills at age 9, will also limit the formal reward of creative expressions and therefore enjoyment in writing.

 

Tribe (Rachel H), University College London, with Chris Rolls, Vyv Huddy, Katrina Scrior and Kat Alcock

An interactive exploration of everyday creativity and the results of an evaluation of an online participatory arts project for common mental disorders

Interactive element: Presenters will ask the audience to participate in some of the everyday creativity tasks used in the Creativity In Mind intervention under evaluation.   Introduction: Creativity, defined as the generation of novel ideas or products, has been linked to emotional functioning and psychological flourishing. Less attention has been paid to everyday creativity, which can be defined as creative activity alone or in groups in one’s everyday environment (Conner, DeYoung & Silvia, 2016). The limited evidence that does exist suggests that everyday creativity has a positive impact on mental health, usually in the context of participatory arts projects in the community. The move to community care coupled with increasing economic constraints has made finding studio space for participatory art projects difficult (Wood, 2007). The arrival of the Internet has opened up new possibilities for increasing the accessibility of arts as a means to improving mental health. This paper explores the benefit of everyday creativity on common mental health difficulties, as expressed through an online participatory arts project called Creativity in Mind (CIM) run by the arts organisation 64 Million Artists.   Aim: To evaluate the effectiveness and impact of the CIM groups on participants mood and wellbeing.   Method: A co-produced mixed methods design was used to evaluate three CIM support groups, with an explanatory and exploratory sequential design. A CIM group consists of a closed WhatsApp group facilitated by a staff member from 64 Million Artists for 30 days. Each day participants receive a predetermined everyday creative challenge which they are encouraged to complete and share with the group. Pre and post measures of mood and wellbeing were collected with a three month follow up. Qualitative interviews were concurrently undertaken with 18 participants and analysed using framework analysis.  Results: A sample of 53 participated across three CIM groups. A complete data set for mood and wellbeing measures at the three time points was obtained from 35 participants. Preliminary analysis suggests that there was a clinically significant increase in wellbeing and a decrease in anxiety, depression and stress. Three-month follow up data is currently being analysed. Qualitative data from 18 interviews with participants has been transcribed and is currently being analysed using Framework Analysis.  Discussion: The results of the CIM group will be discussed in the context of group dynamics, specifically the relationship between creative process and social support.

 

van Broekhoven (Kim), Maastricht University, with Barbara Belfi, Ian Hocking and Rolf van der Velden

Fostering University Students Creative Problem-Solving Skills with a Domain-Specific Training Intervention: Effects on Idea Generation and Idea Evaluation

In a world with major social, economic, environmental and technological challenges, creative skills have never been more essential. The current paper investigates the effects of a Creative Problem Solving (CPS) training intervention on idea generation and idea evaluation skills among 81 university students. To examine the effectiveness of the CPS training, we conducted a field experiment with a waitlist-control group design. The training intervention involved five, weekly 2-hour sessions. The Alternate Uses Task (AUT; Guilford, 1967) and idea generation tasks that required domain-relevant skills were administered before and after the CPS training. In addition, idea evaluation tasks were administered and compared to expert ratings to determine students’ idea evaluation accuracy. The results show that students who attend the training spend less time on the AUT and become more productive in generating ideas per minute. Moreover, the results reveal that this effect does not evaporate after training. In the following period – after training – students still spend less time on the AUT and generate significant more ideas per minute than students without training. For tasks that required more domain-specific knowledge, there was no increase in the total number of ideas and the total number of different kind of ideas. In terms of idea evaluation accuracy, our results did not reveal a training effect on students’ evaluation accuracy. This suggests that idea evaluation seems not be as responsive to change as idea generation. The implications of these results for research and practice are discussed.

 

White (Tom), University of Birmingham

(Rigorous) Imagination: Applying contemporary metaphor theory to the production of creative texts

Metaphors We Live By heralded an understanding of metaphor as central to how we think and act in everyday life. There has been no shortage of research since which seeks to apply theoretical tools from metaphor theory to a range of disciplines. Semino’s MELC project, for example, details metaphors use in end-of-life care, but also suggests better ways of communicating with patients and healthcare professionals.  As Metaphors We Live By’s opening sentence admits, metaphor is regarded, by most, as merely a literary phenomenon, a ‘device of the poetic imagination’ (1980, p.3). It is natural, then, that contemporary metaphor theory has been applied, through cognitive poetics, with a view to enriching poetic analysis.  In contrast, there has been very little work done on how contemporary metaphor research can be applied when writing creatively. Given widespread ideas about metaphor, and how metaphor research in other fields has become more descriptive and applied, this is an incongruity. In my talk, I offer reasons why this incongruity should be resolved, and a framework in which it could happen.  I will focus on the discourse dynamics approach, which analyses metaphor use at the level of real-world discourse, engaging in a search for metaphoric systematicity in order to reveal the ideas, attitudes and values of the speakers. Inspired by Cameron’s statement that the discourse dynamics approach is ‘interpretive…requiring (rigorous) imagination and creativity on the part of the researcher’ (2009, p.24), I will outline how this approach can be modified and appropriated (in practice largely reversed), giving writers a framework at the level of dialogue, plot and character, through which their creative work can draw on metaphor theory and what it has revealed about both creative and conventionalised metaphor use.  Throughout, extracts of my PhD in Creative Writing and English Language will provide examples of practice.

 

Whitten (Shannon), University of Central Florida, with Obinna Oguike, McKayla Tawney, Jules Laird Juli Viciana and Melodie Rivera

Can a Creative Task Alleviate Anxiety and Enhance Academic Performance?

There is a mental health problem in academia today: over 41% of undergraduates report clinically significant anxiety and over 36% report depression (Mistler, Reetz, Krylowicz, & Barr, 2013). What is the best approach to alleviating this problem? The objective of this study is to directly compare techniques that claim to reduce anxiety. Further, we will investigate the connection between anxiety reduction and performance on a challenging academic task.  To explore these questions, we will recruit a minimum of 120 UCF undergraduate students who aspire to take the GRE. Participants will take the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) at the beginning of the experiment, then solve 20 difficult GRE math problems and again take the STAI. They will then study for 20 minutes before being randomly assigned to 1 of 4 intervention groups for 10 minutes: 1) keep studying, 2) meditate, 3) color, or 4) browse their phone. Lastly, they will take the STAI and followed by another difficult GRE math test. We hypothesize that certain types of relaxation tasks will both alleviate stress and improve performance. Specifically, coloring will be the most anxiety relieving because it engages the mind in cognitive distraction and has clear goals (Drake & Hodge, 2015), especially compared to students who keep studying or look at their phone. Data will be collected in the Spring and Summer of 2019. Through this research we hope to improve student mental health and academic competency.

 

Wilson (Chris), Aston University

Building and defending islands in the sea: Creativity in Higher Education

This presentation frames a personal reflection related to the increasing focus on creativity in higher education and the challenges associated with establishing and developing meaningful institutional change. Drawing parallels with the remarkable story of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai, an island formed from volcanic activity in the kingdom of Tonga in 2014 now home to pink flowering plants and various species of birds, this ecosystem is now immediately threatened by erosion from the same forces and environment that gave rise to its existence. This presentation addresses key questions about the development of sustainable approaches to creativity in higher education