Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
Randomized Controlled Trial
. 2008 Sep;19(9):912-8.
doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2008.02176.x.

The Merits of Unconscious Thought in Creativity

Affiliations
Randomized Controlled Trial

The Merits of Unconscious Thought in Creativity

Chen-Bo Zhong et al. Psychol Sci. .

Abstract

Research has yielded weak empirical support for the idea that creative solutions may be discovered through unconscious thought, despite anecdotes to this effect. To understand this gap, we examined the effect of unconscious thought on two outcomes of a remote-association test (RAT): implicit accessibility and conscious reporting of answers. In Experiment 1, which used very difficult RAT items, a short period of unconscious thought (i.e., participants were distracted while holding the goal of solving the RAT items) increased the accessibility of RAT answers, but did not increase the number of correct answers compared with an equal duration of conscious thought or mere distraction. In Experiment 2, which used moderately difficult RAT items, unconscious thought led to a similar level of accessibility, but fewer correct answers, compared with conscious thought. These findings confirm and extend unconscious-thought theory by demonstrating that processes that increase the mental activation of correct solutions do not necessarily lead them into consciousness.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 14 articles

See all "Cited by" articles

Publication types

LinkOut - more resources

Feedback