I make experiment, you make experiment, inexplicably one is better than the other
December 17, 2012 10:20 AM   Subscribe

How creativity is measured?

You always see those studies of how creativity goes up when you do such-and-such a task or eat such-and-such a thing or do it in some weird way, like this. The paper is here, and the study itself seems to use objects related to freedom and anagram solving for words semantically related to freedom.

Is there a fairly complete listing online of all the ways that creativity could be measured and is measured by psychologists, sociologists, etc? Book, article, website, whatever? Additionally, how do people usually control these studies? What are the elements of experiment design of these studies?

My ultimate answer would come up and say, "hey, there's a book not unlike "The Mismeasure of Man" was for anthropometry that talks about the experiment design of a lot of experiments in this field thoroughly."
posted by curuinor to Science & Nature (6 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
One meta-study I saw used professional architectural awards as an indicator of creativity.
posted by StickyCarpet at 10:29 AM on December 17, 2012

Best answer: The Nov 23rd episode of Studio 360 covered just this question. There are some debates about how best to do it. I think the guy who set out some of the terms was Paul Torrance. Anyway, you can get the podcast on iTunes, and I think you'd be really interested in it given your question.
posted by OmieWise at 10:43 AM on December 17, 2012

I've seen a number of studies that asked participants to solve puzzles that require some sort of intuitive leap or non-obvious step, like Guilford's match problems. The speed or success at solving the problem is used as one measure of "creativity."
posted by mbrubeck at 10:59 AM on December 17, 2012

Many intro to cognitive psych textbooks probably do what you want here--describing key experiments on problem solving and lateral thinking but also experiments on circumstances of producing and judging creative works generally undermining the likelihood there's any one factor to cognition that could reasonably be named "creativity." The textbook I recall covering this well a long time ago was by Matlin.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 10:59 AM on December 17, 2012

Best answer: Here is a link to the relevant Studio 360 page. Rereading your question, I really recommend you listen to the show. Your question reads as if it were a script prompt for the show.
posted by OmieWise at 11:24 AM on December 17, 2012

What mbrubeck said; tests that require non-linerar thinking. I remember one experiment where participants were asked "How many uses for a sock can you come up with, other than wearing it?" or were given materials and a task ("Get item x out of bottle"), but no instructions or pointers what materials were the "right" ones.
posted by MinusCelsius at 1:02 PM on December 17, 2012

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