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Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts

The Official Journal of Division 10 of the American Psychological Association.

aca-150 Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts is devoted to promoting scholarship on the psychology of the production and appreciation of the arts and all aspects of creative endeavor. To that end, we publish manuscripts presenting original empirical research and papers that synthesize and evaluate extant research that relate to the psychology of aesthetics, creativity, and the arts. Generally, qualitative work, case studies, essays, interviews, biographical profiles, and literature reviews are discouraged.

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Co-Editors

Roni Reiter-Palmon
University of Nebraska at Omaha

Pablo Tinio
Queens College, City University of New York

Founding Editors

James C. Kaufman
University of Connecticut

Jeffrey K. Smith
University of Otago, New Zealand

Lisa F. Smith
University of Otago, New Zealand



Current Issue: Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts - Vol 11, Iss 1

Introduction by the editors.

This editorial announces that Baptiste Barbot of Pace University will be joining the editorial team of Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts as the third associate editor, and presents an overview of articles in this issue. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
Date: 2017-02-16
Creator: Tinio, Pablo P. L.; Reiter-Palmon, Roni
Creator: 10.1037/aca0000119


The association of TPH genes with creative potential.

Genes involved in the 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) system have been considered as potential candidates for creativity. The present study systematically explored the associations of 5-HT–related tryptophan hydroxylase (TPH) genes with creative potential in the Han Chinese population. Twenty-five single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) covering TPH1 and TPH2 were genotyped in 543 unrelated healthy Chinese undergraduates whose creative potentials were assessed by divergent thinking (DT) tests. Both single SNP and haplotype analysis revealed several novel associations of SNPs and haplotypes with various DT indexes, although the previously reported association of TPH1 rs1799913 polymorphism with creative potential was not replicated. In conclusion, the present study provides preliminary evidence for the involvement of TPH in creative potential, but further studies are necessary to validate these findings. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
Date: 2016-09-29
Creator: Zhang, Shun; Zhang, Jinghuan
Creator: 10.1037/aca0000073


The Green Eggs and Ham hypothesis: How constraints facilitate creativity.

Two experiments tested the hypothesis that constraints imposed on a common writing task yield more creative outputs. In the 1st study, participants were asked to include a given noun in a 2-line rhyme for a special occasion. In the 2nd study, they generated their own nouns, which they then had to include in their rhymes. Both studies show a main effect of constraints on creativity and an interaction with order of presentation, which suggests a carryover effect: Mere practice with constraints can stimulate creativity. The Green Eggs and Ham model is put forth to explain the current findings and why Dr. Seuss’s best-seller, written using only 50 words, was such a creative and commercial success. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
Date: 2016-04-14
Creator: Haught-Tromp, Catrinel
Creator: 10.1037/aca0000061


Fostering members’ creativity in teams: The role of structuring of human resource management processes.

Work teams are central to organizations as they constitute a vital mechanism in solving complex problems creatively. However, teams are often dysfunctional and do not reap their members’ creative potential. We suggest that structuring, which is often associated with fixation, may nevertheless be instrumental for creativity. Specifically, we developed and tested a model in which structuring of human resource management (HRM) processes helps organizations to build high quality teams (with high human and social capital). We posit that being a member of such a team increases team members’ growth satisfaction, and thereby team member creativity. The results of Multilevel Structural Equation Modeling (MSEM) indicated a more complex pattern of relationships than hypothesized: the relationship between the structuring of HRM processes and team member creativity was shown to depend on the level of structuring. Low levels of structuring enhanced team member creativity through greater team human and social capital and growth satisfaction. By contrast, high levels of structuring led to a decline in growth satisfaction but not in creativity, but although growth satisfaction decreased, the positive effect of structuring on team human and social capital suppressed its negative effect. The theoretical and practical implications are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
Date: 2016-10-10
Creator: Binyamin, Galy; Carmeli, Abraham
Creator: 10.1037/aca0000088


Perceived parental control and Chinese middle school adolescents’ creativity: The mediating role of autonomous motivation.

The present study attempted to examine the relationships between perceived parental control and Chinese middle school adolescents’ creativity assessed in terms of ideational fluency, flexibility, and originality, as well as the mechanism underlying these associations from the Self-Determination Theory perspective. A total of 503 Chinese middle school students participated in this study, and their autonomous motivation, perceived parental control and creativity were measured. Results indicated that behavioral control and psychological control had distinct impact on Chinese adolescents’ creativity. Specifically, behavioral control was positively related to ideational fluency, flexibility, and originality, while psychological control was negatively related to ideational fluency and flexibility. In addition, behavioral control contributed to Chinese adolescents’ creativity through its positive effect on autonomous motivation. However, psychological control had no significant relationship with autonomous motivation. The findings highlight the importance of differentiating behavioral and psychological control when considering the effect of parental control on creativity. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
Date: 2016-12-15
Creator: Ren, Feifei; Li, Yijuan; Zhang, Jinghuan
Creator: 10.1037/aca0000078


Latency predicts category switch in divergent thinking.

Divergent thinking (DT) tasks are frequently used to estimate the potential for creative thinking. They are usually scored for 3 ideational outcomes: fluency, flexibility, and originality. The focus here is on flexibility, which is quantified in 2 ways. One flexibility score is based on the number of conceptual categories. The second is based on the number of switches between conceptual categories. In both cases, scoring is manual and depends on trained raters. The objective of this study was to test the possibility that category switches could be predicted by the latency between consecutive ideas that were generated during think-aloud sessions. To this end, 4 different DT tests were employed and 1,408 responses were produced while thinking aloud about them. The ideas were transcribed and the latency (in seconds) was calculated as the difference between 2 consecutive responses. A 3-level hierarchical linear modeling analysis was used. This allowed identification of the variance attributable to the DT tasks and to individual differences. Most important was that it allowed an examination of the relationship between latency and categorical switch, after controlling for DT test and individual differences. Results indicated that latency was approximately 5 s longer when the ideational category was switched than when a new idea was found within the same category. In addition, latency was 2.5 s higher in figural tasks than verbal tasks. Implications of the findings are discussed for creativity assessment. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
Date: 2016-10-27
Creator: Acar, Selcuk; Runco, Mark A.
Creator: 10.1037/aca0000091


The role of creative potential and intelligence for humor production.

The ability to come up with good puns or jokes has been variantly viewed as an indicator of intelligence or creativity. Although the empirical literature provides support for both associations, it remains unclear whether intelligence and creativity independently contribute to the production of humor. To test this notion, a humor production test was devised that asked participants (n = 151) to generate funny punch lines to six caption-removed cartoons. The results showed that intelligence and creative potential predict humor production ability independently. Specifically, divergent thinking fluency and creativity as well as crystallized intelligence explained unique variance of the funniness of humor productions. These findings contribute to our understanding of the role of domain-general abilities involved in the production of humor. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
Date: 2016-06-09
Creator: Kellner, Raphaela; Benedek, Mathias
Creator: 10.1037/aca0000065


Relationships of personality to differential conceptions of creativity: A systematic review.

While neither the notion of personality being related to creativity, nor the idea that the diverse conceptions and measures of creativity can cloud the field are new, the 2 thoughts are rarely combined. Using a systematic review methodology, 1 overarching question was examined: Do differential creativity-personality relationships exist based on different creativity conceptions or measurement schemes? In the review, 188 reported relationships of creativity to personality across 96 peer-reviewed, empirical studies were examined and coded for definitions and measurements of creativity. Results support standing beliefs regarding openness and extraversion as strong positive predictors. However, the amount of creativity variance explained differed as much as 8 times depending on the type of assessment. Production measures and self-reported measures were more related to personality than ideation and externally rated measures. The 4 elements of divergent thinking also demonstrated differential relationships to personality. The results of this analysis encourage subsequent research that is more discerning when interpreting the relationships between creativity and personality. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
Date: 2016-09-22
Creator: Puryear, Jeb S.; Kettler, Todd; Rinn, Anne N.
Creator: 10.1037/aca0000079


The specter of scholarship without novel ideas: Replication, hyperauthorship and the danger of stagnation.

Two striking recent trends in discussions of scholarly publishing are, on the one hand, calls for dramatically increased emphasis on replicability as the core indicator of research quality and, on the other, listing everybody who had anything to do with a research project as an author of the project report. These trends have in common that they give at least as much weight to correct application of technical and procedural skills as to generation of novelty. Although replicability and due recognition of people’s contributions to research are highly desirable, there is a danger that both trends will lead to undervaluing the importance of ideas, especially novel, even provocative ideas, and this prospect raises the specter of a focus in knowledge production on artisanship at the expense of creativity, with resulting stagnation. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
Date: 2016-08-25
Creator: Cropley, Arthur
Creator: 10.1037/aca0000076


Time spent viewing art and reading labels.

A study conducted at the Metropolitan Museum of Art 15 years ago found that the mean amount of time visitors spent looking at great works of art was 27.2 s, with the median at 17.0 s and the mode at 10.0 s (J. K. Smith & Smith, 2001). The study presented here aimed to revisit that study at The Art Institute of Chicago and expand on it by including a larger sample size, a larger number of artworks from more-diverse genres and time periods, and separate observations for time spent looking at the artworks and reading the accompanying labels. As with the original study, the effects of gender, age, and group size on time spent looking were also examined. The results were remarkably similar to those of the 2001 study, with the mean amount of time spent looking measured at 28.63 s, the median at 21.00 s, and the mode at 10.00 s. As in the 2001 study, there were no significant effects for gender or age, and there was a small group size effect for visitors in groups of 3 or more. A noteworthy finding from the current study was the large percentage of visitors taking what we term arties, that is, selfies taken with the artworks. Arties were taken at every artwork by visitors regardless of gender, apparent age, or group size. Taken together, the results demonstrate that the time people spend viewing artworks has not changed much. What has changed, however, is how they spend that time. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
Date: 2016-02-29
Creator: Smith, Lisa F.; Smith, Jeffrey K.; Tinio, Pablo P. L.
Creator: 10.1037/aca0000049


The Aesthetic Pleasure in Design Scale: The development of a scale to measure aesthetic pleasure for designed artifacts.

There is a lack of consistency regarding the scales used to measure aesthetic pleasure within design. They are often chosen ad hoc or adopted from other research fields without being validated for designed artifacts. Moreover, many scales do not measure aesthetic pleasure in isolation, but instead include its determinants (e.g., novelty). Therefore, we developed a new scale to measure aesthetic pleasure and included scales to measure its known determinants for discriminant validity purposes, which automatically led to validating these determinants as well. In the exploratory phase, we identified highly reliable items representative of aesthetic pleasure and its determinants across product categories. In the validation phase, we confirmed these findings across different countries (Australia, the Netherlands, and Taiwan). The final scale consists of 5 items, “beautiful,” “attractive,” “pleasing to see,” “nice to see,” and “like to look at,” that together reliably capture the construct of aesthetic pleasure. Several recommendations are formulated regarding the application of this scale in design studies and beyond. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
Date: 2017-02-16
Creator: Blijlevens, Janneke; Thurgood, Clementine; Hekkert, Paul; Chen, Lin-Lin; Leder, Helmut; Whitfield, T. W. Allan
Creator: 10.1037/aca0000098


The effect of object interpretation on the appearance of drawings of ambiguous figures.

We studied how the appearance of observational drawings is affected by how individuals interpret the model object they are copying. Participants were asked to draw 2 ambiguous figure models (Fisher’s Gypsy/Girl with Mirror and Man/Girl figures). Before being exposed to the models, participants were randomly assigned to receive 1 of the 2 possible interpretations of the figures during the task instructions. After all the drawings were completed, a group of independent judges rated the appearance of the drawings with respect to what object they thought the drawing was trying to depict. Analysis of the ratings indicated that the ambiguous figure interpretations provided to participants during the task instructions affected the ultimate appearance of their drawings. For the most part, participants’ drawings were biased to appear more like the object that was the subject of the interpretation they received during the task instructions than the alternative possible interpretation they did not receive. These results demonstrate that the categorization of model objects affects the ultimate appearance of drawings of that model. This supports the general perspective that top-down processes affect observational drawings beyond the bottom-up encoding of the visual information inherent in a model. The possible mechanisms producing this effect are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
Date: 2017-02-16
Creator: Ostrofsky, Justin; Nehl, Heather; Mannion, Kelly
Creator: 10.1037/aca0000084


Leisure reading and social cognition: A meta-analysis.

This meta-analysis investigates the extent to which people’s leisure reading may produce better social–cognitive abilities. Researchers have hypothesized that experiences of fiction (more so than nonfiction) will improve readers’ empathy and theory of mind. To capture the size of this effect, we aggregated correlations between measures of lifetime reading habits for both fiction and nonfiction with measures of empathy and theory of mind. Consistent with previous evidence, fiction reading had a larger correlation with the social–cognitive measures compared to nonfiction reading. However, the effects were small in magnitude. Heterogeneity analyses indicated that the effect sizes were consistent across studies. We also examined gender, publication status, and design as moderators. However, none of the moderators reached significance. We suggest that the results of this meta-analysis sanction a shift in research agenda toward understanding causal mechanisms. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2017 APA, all rights reserved)
Date: 2016-12-12
Creator: Mumper, Micah L.; Gerrig, Richard J.
Creator: 10.1037/aca0000089