Sometimes it’s easy to see if someone expresses their creativity more than others, but what if creativity could actually be measured? Scientists believe they’ve found a way to measure—and test—your creativity with a simple exercise.
Based on research from three international universities, measuring creativity is as simple as a 4- minute test, which you can give yourself and your friends! It’s called the Divergent Association Task which was created by a McGill University Psychiatry graduate. In this exercise, you think of 10 words in a 4-minute period that are as unrelated from one another as can be.
The DAT test takes the results of the words and uses a computer algorithm to measure how far apart the words are from each other (as the word candle is farther away from mouse than it is to the related word, flame). By measuring how much distance there is between the words, divergent creativity can be measured. Researchers were able to associate the way the brain processes this semantic information with some of the established tests for creativity, though there are many different ways to measure creativity.
Though the exact mechanism within the brain for thinking divergently hasn’t been fully investigated, the DAT test can be a good way to stretch those creative brain muscles. It’s a conversation starter or parlor game that can challenge yourself and others. Without the computational algorithm, the test may be lacking concrete results, but you can surely enjoy this cognitive performance test when you’ve got 4 minutes to spare!
Jay A. Olson, Johnny Nahas, Denis Chmoulevitch, Simon J. Cropper, Margaret E. Webb. Naming unrelated words predicts creativity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2021; 118 (25): e2022340118 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2022340118