Unrelated Words Boost Creativity
Thinking of three words or more that are unrelated to another can boost creativity, according to researchers of McGill University, Harvard and University of Melbourne. The simple exercise of naming unrelated words and then measuring the semantic distance between them could serve as an objective measure of creativity. Using the DAT, the researchers asked participants to name 10 words that were as different from each other as possible. A computational algorithm would then estimate the average semantic distance between the words. The more related the words were (e.g., “cat” and “dog”) the shorter the semantic difference would be, compared to less related words (e.g., “cat” and “book”). The greater the semantic distance between words, the greater would be the score on traditional creativity levels. Creativity has two main psychological components, convergent thinking and divergent thinking, which work together when generating creative output.