Conceptual Expansion During Divergent Thinking


Recent research on creative thinking has implicated conceptual expansion as potential cognitive underpinnings. These theories were examined within the context of a laboratory study using two divergent thinking prompts. Participants generated alternative/creative uses for a brick and for a glass bottle (separately) for two minutes and responses were time-stamped using a Matlab GUI. Semantic distances between responses and conceptual representations of the DT prompts were computed using latent semantic analysis. Results showed that semantic distance increased as responding progressed, with significant differences between the two tasks, and intraparticipant variation. Results have implications for theories of creative thinking and represent methodological and analytic advances in the study of divergent thinking.

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