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Methods. 2007 May;42(1):28-37.

Creative cognition as a window on creativity.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Alabama, Box 870348, Tuscaloosa, AL, USA.


The creative cognition approach views creativity as the generation of novel and appropriate products through the application of basic cognitive processes to existing knowledge structures. It relies on converging evidence from anecdotal accounts of creativity and tightly controlled laboratory studies designed to examine the processes that are assumed to operate in those anecdotes. Specific examples of creative cognition studies are described in detail with a particular focus on research concerned with accessing conceptual information at varying levels of abstraction and combining previously separate concepts. Important aspects of the design of these studies are delineated, including the main creative tasks, properties of the materials used, characteristics of responses observed, including their originality and practicality, participant and rater attributes, and the relations among these and other study aspects. Other issues addressed are generality across materials, populations, and situations, as well as causal versus correlational connections among processes, structures and creative outcomes.

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