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Creative or Not? Bayesian Hierarchical Diffusion Modeling of the Evaluation Phase of the Creative Process

Michelle Donzallaz
University of Amsterdam ~ Department of Psychology
Dr. Julia Haaf
University of Amsterdam ~ Psychological Methods
Claire E Stevenson
University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

How do people evaluate whether an idea is creative or not? It is commonly assumed that creative ideas have two characteristics: they are original as well as useful. However, research suggests that, overall, people value originality more than utility when they judge whether something is creative or not. But individuals may also differ in how much they value originality and utility in their creativity judgments. In the extreme, some individuals may take utility into account while others do not at all.To examine conceptions of creativity in a standardized way and to explore individual differences, we used the creative-or-not (CON) task, a timed two-choice decision-making task. In this task, participants decide whether they find uses for certain objects creative or not (e.g., using a book as a buoy). The different use items vary on the two dimensions ‘originality’ and ‘utility’.We analyzed the CON task data using a Bayesian hierarchical diffusion model. In a sample of university students (n = 293; 17806 trials) we found, as expected, that originality and utility of the use items influences the drift rate of the diffusion model but that the effect of originality is greater. This suggests that, on average, people take originality and utility into account when they evaluate creativity, but that originality is considered more important than utility. In addition, we find substantial individual differences. The more individuals took originality into account when evaluating creativity, the less they took utility into account and vice versa.


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