The Role of Working Memory in Creative Insight : Correlation analysis of working memory capacity, creative insight and divergent thinking

University essay from Linköpings universitet/Institutionen för datavetenskap; Linköpings universitet/Filosofiska fakulteten

Abstract: There is an ongoing debate about the components and processes of creativity. Within the subfield of creative insight, which is often considered to be the first measurable part of creativity, the role of working memory is discussed. Since creative insight appears to happen without conscious planning, the involvement of working memory appears to be limited; a hypothesis supported by several studies. However, there are several studies that support an opposing hypothesis. Namely, that creativity, including creative insights, is a form of divergent thinking and that working memory is needed for divergent thinking. This study investigated the role of working memory in creative insight through correlation analyses between working memory capacity, the frequency of insight and divergent thinking ability. The study was performed using Operation Span to test working memory capacity, Compound Word Association to assess the frequency of insight, and a part of Torrance Test of Creative Thinking to assess the ability for divergent thinking. The result show that working memory have little involvement in creative insight, but that it is involved in divergent thinking. This indicates that the nature of insight is different from divergent thinking.

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