Do more creative people adapt better? An investigation into the association between creativity and adaptation

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Abstract

Objective:

Some evidence suggests an association between creativity and adaptability; yet this relationship has not been tested empirically. The present study aimed at testing experimentally whether cognitive and motor creativity are associated with the psychological, behavioral, and affective dimensions of adaptation when failing to reach a motor task goal.

Design and method:

Forty-five students were asked to complete a motor circuit under pressure. After setting their own goal, participants had up to 10 attempts to reach that goal and were told that they failed after each attempt. Perception of task difficulty and self-efficacy were measured before the first attempt. Persistent and variable behaviors were recorded during the task. Finally, upon completion of the motor circuit, participants completed the affect grid and were tested for their cognitive and motor creativity.

Results:

Correlational analyses revealed that cognitive and motor creativity are separate but related entities. A series of linear regression analyses revealed that motor (but not cognitive) creativity was significantly associated with probability of adaptation (r = 0.31). Flexibility in motor creativity predicted perception of task difficulty whereas originality was a significant predictor of persistent behavior.

Conclusions:

Some similarities exist in the processes underlying both the generation of creative thoughts and movements. Being able to produce a large number of flexible and original motor solutions seem to offer an adaptation advantage. Each creativity dimension has a separate but complementary influence on the psychological, affective, and behavioral dimensions of adaptation.

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