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The Physiological Response during Divergent Thinking

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DOI: 10.4236/jbbs.2016.61004    3,993 Downloads   5,012 Views Citations


Our research studied the physiological response of participants during a creative task to investigate if a person’s psychophysiological state was correlated with divergent thinking performance. We used heart rate variability as our physiological measure. We asked 50 participants to perform a cognitive task that assessed their divergent thinking skills and recorded their heart rate and heart rate variability (HRV) before and during the task. Frequency domain analysis was performed on the HRV. The results showed that there was a significant negative correlation between log-transformed low frequency HRV power and the number of “divergent thinking” words generated. Our results suggest that a person’s psychophysiological state is correlated with their divergent thinking performance, and that attention and motivation may be important factors, however this needs further research. Our findings also suggest that being in a relaxed state before the start of a creative task is not a predictor of creative performance.

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Loudon, G. and Deininger, G. (2016) The Physiological Response during Divergent Thinking. Journal of Behavioral and Brain Science, 6, 28-37. doi: 10.4236/jbbs.2016.61004.

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