Friday 13 December 2013

ISIR Intelligence and Creativity



Exploring the Relationship Between Intelligence, Creativity, Inspection Time, and
John H. Song, John G. Chetwynd
De Montfort University

Novelty. The relationship between intelligence and creativity has been examined and
debated relatively extensively. There were investigations about the nature of
intelligence-creativity relationship which were examined through higher order latent
variables, personality, executive processes, and strategy-use. The present study
examines the relationship between intelligence and creativity through the use of higher level inhibitory processes measures and elementary cognitive tasks. A sample of largely university students completed computerised Raven’s Progressive Matrices, Unusual Uses task, Self-rated creativity measure, inspection time task, Stroop and Latent Inhibition task. The results showed that intelligence, as measured using Raven’s Progressive Matrices was significantly predicted only by inspection time, but not inhibition variables, or creativity measured using Unusual Uses task and Self-rated Creativity score. The result suggests that apart from inspection time, other inhibitory processes do not significantly contribute toward intelligence.
Importance. Formal definitions of intelligence have often included problem-solving
ability. However, therein lay the tension between intelligence and creativity. The
former often involves completion of problems with a unique solution whereas creativity encourages generation of multiple solutions. In order to derive a correct solution an intelligent individual would engage in some selection processes. To do so successfully, it may be that inhibition processes which prevents competing solutions from distracting the individual would be necessary. On the contrary, creativity, would usually involve generating as many solutions as possible. These are higher level processes. The current study will add to the current knowledge in this field by examining inhibition processes as higher level processes, but it has also include the use of an elementary cognitive task. It will lead to further refinement of research methodologies and further examination of important variables explaining the intelligence-creativity relationship.
Methods. Although it is moderately small in sample size, this ambitious and labour
intensive study examined intelligence as measured by Raven’s Progressive Matrices;
Creativity as measured subjectively and objectively through Self-rated Creativity scale, and Unusual Uses task respectively; two types of inhibition processes using Cognitive Inhibition (Stroop task) and a Latent Inhibition task; and processing speed measured using elementary cognitive task – Inspection time. The number of variables examined here enables a unique opportunity to explore the relationship between these variable, notably between intelligence and creativity. Multiple regression analyses enabled examination of the ability of various variables in predicting intelligence.

Comment: This is an exploratory study, on a small select sample, but it might generate some ideas which could be replicated in larger more representative samples.


  1. How often does a potentially useful measure get nullified by training or practice? I ask because a colleague once pointed out to me that I read unusually quickly. That might be a measure of something-or-other, but would presumably lose its usefulness if I'd ever tried to make myself a quick reader. In other words, if it ain't spontaneous, it ain't useful?

  2. Contrary to popular wisdom, it is hard to get people to read faster if the test is later comprehension. Reading for meaning is intelligence related. Of course, you can speed up reading the technical literature because you know the jargon, and you can also skip bits if the reading is padded out, and that comes with practice, but if the matter is a difficult one, then even a plain text rendition requires concentration. In sum, many people can speed skim read, but fewer can read fast and extract real meaning.

    1. One of my colleagues once ambushed me, thrust a page of A4 into my hand and asked "What do you think of that?" I read it and started to reply. He thought I had skimmed it, so he demanded that I tell him what the last two sentences said. I did so.

      My guess is that the speed of reading, if spontaneous, may be a marker for impatience.