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A simple 4-Minute test for Creativity, and you can try it out!

06.11.2022 02:00 AM
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A simple 4-Minute test for Creativity, and you can try it out!
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A simple 4-Minute test for Creativity, and you can try it out!

Creativity is difficult to define and perhaps even more difficult to quantify, but scientists believe they have come up with a remarkably simple way to assess at least one aspect of it.

The method, called a divergent association task (DAT), asks people to name 10 names that are as far apart in meaning as possible. "Cat" and "book" would be more contrasting than "cat" and "dog," for example.

A computer algorithm then measures this semantic distance — how closely the two words relate to one another — between the nouns a person has come up with. Based on an analysis of responses from 8,914 volunteers, the DAT is at least as good as current methods for predicting a person's creativity.

"Several theories assume that creatives are able to generate more divergent ideas," the researchers wrote in their paper. "If this is true, then simply naming unrelated words and then measuring the semantic distance between them can serve as an objective measure of divergent thinking."

Creativity scores from the DAT correlate with other outcomes as they did with each other, meaning that they are just as useful in assessing creativity as more complex tools. Moreover, the data shows that their effectiveness appears to apply to different demographics, making them suitable for large-scale surveys.

The main benefits of the new DAT test are that it is simple, quick to complete and does not require any kind of human evaluation, which can lead to bias. However, the researchers are careful to point out that it does not measure every aspect of creativity.

“Our task only measures a small piece of one type of creativity,” said psychologist Jay Olson of Harvard University. “But these results enable creative assessments to be made across larger, more diverse samples with less bias, which will ultimately help us understand this basic human ability. Better".

As Olson points out, the DAT explores divergent thinking and verbal creativity — it won't show how creative you are when cooking in the kitchen, for example, which uses a different set of skills, but can predict efficiency at a given time.

Psychologists believe that more creative people are more easily able to associate more distant items in their minds, which is what is being tested here. A more comprehensive measure should take into account achievements in creative fields, such as musical composition and invention. It's a complicated picture - but the DAT approach may make future studies in creativity a little simpler.

The research was published in PNAS.

 
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