Are intelligence and creativity really so different? Fluid intelligence, executive processes, and strategy use in divergent thinking.

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Emily C. Nusbaum (Creator)
Paul Silvia, Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:

Abstract: Contemporary creativity research views intelligence and creativity as essentially unrelated abilities, and many studies have found only modest correlations between them. The present research, based on improved approaches to creativity assessment and latent variable modeling, proposes that fluid and executive cognition is in fact central to creative thought. In Study 1, the substantial effect of fluid intelligence (Gf) on creativity was mediated by executive switching, the number of times people switched idea categories during the divergent thinking tasks. In Study 2, half the sample was given an effective strategy for an unusual uses task. The strategy condition interacted with Gf: people high in Gf did better when given the strategy, consistent with their higher ability to maintain access to it and use it despite interference. Taken together, the findings suggest that divergent thinking is more convergent than modern creativity theories presume.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2011
creativity, intelligence, divergent thinking, executive process, interference, psychology

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