Identifying Creativity During Problem Solving Using Linguistic Features

Stephen Skalicky, Scott A. Crossley, Danielle McNamara, Kasia Muldner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Creativity is commonly assessed using divergent thinking tasks, which measure the fluency, flexibility, originality, and elaboration of participant output on a variety of different tasks. This study assesses the degree to which creativity can be identified based on linguistic features of participants’ language while completing collaborative divergent thinking tasks. To this end, 78 participants’ conversational dialogs (i.e., 39 dyads) within a chat environment were collected while completing three open-ended problem-solving tasks. Expert raters scored the dialogs in terms of fluency, flexibility, elaboration, and originality, as well as three types of creative language (metaphor and simile, humor, and word play). Factor analyses indicated that these scores captured two main constructs (creativity and elaboration). The linguistic features of the participants’ language (captured computationally using natural language processing tools) accounted for significant amounts of variation in both the creativity (R2 =.640) and elaboration (R2 =.550) scores within linear mixed effect (LME) models. These results highlight specific linguistic features that can be used to explain large amounts of variance in constructs related to creativity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)343-353
Number of pages11
JournalCreativity Research Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)


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