Creative thinking and executive functions: Associations and training effects in adolescents
SourcePsychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, (2021)
29 april 2021
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ DCC NRP
Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts
SubjectNeuropsychology and rehabilitation psychology; Neuro- en revalidatiepsychologie
Previous research on the association between executive functions and creativity has revealed mixed results. Here, we examined which of three components of executive functioning, working memory (WM) updating, inhibition, and shifting ability, is most strongly associated with which aspect of creative thinking in a group of young adolescents. Moreover, we assessed the effects of specifically training that function on various measures of creative thinking. In Study 1, 73 13- to 15-year-old adolescents performed tasks measuring information processing speed, WM maintenance, WM updating, inhibition, shifting ability, and convergent and divergent creative thinking. In Study 2, 68 12- to 14-year-old adolescents were randomly assigned to an adaptive WM updating training or active control condition. Before and after training, all children were assessed using a WM updating transfer task and tests of convergent and divergent thinking. Study 1 identified WM updating as most reliable correlate of most of the creative thinking outcome measures. Study 2 revealed training-induced beneficial effects on the WM transfer task and on most of the creative outcome measures. These results, together with the outcome of previous studies, are promising in suggesting the potential of cognitive training programs that specifically target WM updating to enhance aspects of creative thinking.
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