The role of mental imagery in creativity

Le Boutillier, Nicholas (1999) The role of mental imagery in creativity. PhD thesis, Middlesex University. [Thesis]

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Mental imagery has been linked to creativity through the reports of many historically creative individuals. Following a review and evaluation of the theoretical, anecdotal and empirical literature, the material presented in the thesis investigates the role of individual differences in mental imagery in performance on psychometric creativity tasks. A meta-analytic review of previous research showed a small marginally acceptable criterion association between self-reported mental imagery vividness and control and divergent thinking performance. However, additional non-statistical
examination showed that further investigation was required. This led to five studies of
the variables under consideration and a revised meta-analytic review in the light of the findings. The main conclusion was that self-report measures of mental imagery have a statistically significant but inconsequential association with divergent thinking
performance. Consequently a new series of studies was undertaken in which the creative visualization task (CVT) was employed using an individual differences approach. Having established the parametric properties of a test-format version of the
CVT two behavioural measures of mental imagery were used to predict performance. As neither measure predicted CVT performance high and low vividness and Symbolic Equivalence Test groups were used to assess a dissociative model of CVT
performance. A significant interaction effect showed that vividness plays a mediating role in predicting CVT performance. In two final studies the individual differences approach was employed in the context of a hypothesised perceptual mediation. The results showed firstly that High Imagers performed significantly better than Low Imagers in creativity tasks following perceptual isolation and secondly that Low Imagers performed significantly better on perceptually sourced creativity tasks than on verbally sourced creativity tasks. The combined findings suggest that, while
established protocols do not support a strong imagery-creativity association, new methods of investigation may reveal the predicted differences in creativity between high and low imagery participants.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Research Areas: B. > Theses
Item ID: 13414
Depositing User: Adam Miller
Date Deposited: 03 Oct 2014 15:21
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2022 03:06

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