Creativity and Attention: An Individual Difference Approach




Ramos Ruiz, Beatrice Nicole

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A small body of literature posits that attention is related to creativity. Previous studies have shown a possible relationship of creative individual attending to irrelevant information. Others have shown that creativity is related to attentional control. Specifically, a lower ability to control attention is related to greater creative achievement. Additionally, a stronger ability to control attention was related to better divergent thinking performance. Furthermore, it has been speculated that the relationship between schizophrenia and creativity is mediated by attentional pattern, that is both attending to more stimuli than non-creative and non-schizophrenic individuals. These past studies have not used validated measures of auditory attention. Thus, it is unclear if modal specific aspects of attention, such as the right ear advantage, ability to focus attention on one ear, and misperceptions are also related to creativity. Two studies were conducted to investigate this relationship. Both studies utilized a consonant-vowel dichotic listening task to measure the right ear advantage and auditory misperceptions in focused (i.e. attending to one side of space) and divided (i.e. attending to both sides of space) attention conditions. Additionally, both studies measured three facets of creativity: creative achievement, divergent thinking, and creative problem solving. The right ear advantage was not related to creativity; however, both studies demonstrated a negative correlation between misperceptions and creativity. These results indicate that the tendency to misperceive indicate harmful attentional lapses.


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Attention, Alternative use task, AUT, Dichotic listening, Misperceptions, Auditory attention, Modal specific aspects, Divided and focused attention, Right ear advantage, Divergent thinking, Problem solving, Creative achievement