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The workload capacity of semantic search in convergent thinking

Authors
Linlin Shang
National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan; Radboud University, the Netherlands ~ Donders Centre for Cognition
Daniel R. Little
The University of Melbourne ~ Psychological Sciences
Margaret Webb
The University of Melbourne, Australia
Dr. Ami Eidels
University of Newcastle, Australia ~ Psychology
Prof. Cheng-Ta Yang
National Cheng Kung University ~ Department of Psychology
Abstract

We employ Systems Factorial Technology (Townsend & Nozawa, 1995) to investigate how people combine dual cues in semantic memory search. Our aims are to understand: (1) how cues interact during the process of semantic search in convergent thinking, and (2) whether workload capacity (i.e. cue-processing efficiency) is related to the final search result. In two experiments, participants completed a typical convergent thinking test and a word production task. The results reveal that: (1) collective evidence presumably supports a parallel model despite individual differences in workload capacity, (2) there exists a negative correlation between workload capacity and performance on convergent thinking test. A potential explanation is that, for the creative individual, loading many candidate answers leads to consumption of substantial processing resources that shows as low workload capacity, but also allows creative individuals to switch more easily from one candidate to another so that they have a higher probability of successfully producing an answer within a limited time. Our results further imply that workload capacity is a significant factor for the semantic search process in convergent thinking and provides new insight on the model of semantic search and creativity.

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