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Personality and Individual Differences 48 (2010) 957961

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Personality and Individual Differences

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Ability, demographic and personality predictors of creativity

Adrian Furnham a,*, Mikael Nederstrom b
a b

Research Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology, University College London, United Kingdom Psycon, Helsinki, Finland

a r t i c l e

i n f o

a b s t r a c t
In all 10, 415 adult Finish managers attending an assessment centre completed a battery of tests including a personality trait measure (revised Personality Research Form), three ability tests and a well established measure of divergent thinking (DT) (Consequences Test). Gender, but not age nor education was a signicant predictor of DT. Two of the three ability tests were correlated with DT. Various facet scores were correlated with DT but at the domain level it was only the Extraversion factor that proved signicant. A regression indicated that bright, Extraverted males did better at the DT test. Implications and limitations are considered. 2010 Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Article history: Received 31 October 2009 Received in revised form 7 February 2010 Available online 12 March 2010 Keywords: Creativity Ability Personality predictors

1. Introduction This study involves a psychometric investigation of creativity (Plucker & Renzulli, 1999), usually dened as the production of both novel and useful ideas, concepts or products. Many investigations of the creativity construct have utilised tests of divergent thinking (DT) (Aliotti, Britt, & Haskins, 1975; Barron & Harrington, 1981; Batey & Furnham, 2006; Chandler & Pengally, 2006; Feist, 1998; Gelade, 1995). It is usually agreed that DT is necessary (but not sufcient) for creativity but that it is only one component, others being originality and exibility (Batey & Furnham, 2006). Both cognitive and non-cognitive correlates of creativity as DT have been investigated. This study sought to examine the ability, personality and demographic correlates of creativity as measured by the Consequences Tests extensively used in creativity research as a criterion measure of creativity. 1.1. Divergent thinking Following on from the early work on uency (Hargreaves, 1927), Guilford (1950, 1967) was one of the rst to operationalise creativity in terms of tests of DT. Nearly all of these tests require people to produce several ideas in response to a specic prompt in a specic time period. DT tests are most commonly quantitatively scored for the number of responses provided by the participant (uency). They may be scored for statistical infrequency of response (originality). Wallach and Kogan (1965) scored their sample for uniqueness; answers provided by only one participant, while others have suggested scoring scales whereby no points
* Corresponding author. E-mail address: (A. Furnham). 0191-8869/$ - see front matter 2010 Published by Elsevier Ltd. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2010.02.030

are allotted for common responses, with increasingly higher scores allotted for statistically infrequent responses (Torrance, 1974). There is no agreement on the best scores though uency is the most common. DT responses may be scored for the number of categories included in a participants answers or exibility (Torrance, 1974). Although rarely used, DT responses may be scored for comprehensiveness of answer or elaboration (Torrance, 1974). An alternative to the quantitative-based approach involves the use of ratings of DT responses by judges. The most popular method employed has been the Consensual Assessment Technique (Amabile, 1982; Hennessey & Amabile, 1988). DT tests possess good concurrent validity with other creativity tests (Plucker, 1999). This study used the Consequences Test (Christensen, Merrield, & Guilford, 1958). It contains a number of questions like what would be the consequences if everyone suddenly lost the ability to read and write? or what would be the consequences if none of us needed food any more to live? Participants are given a specic time limit either per problem or for all problems. Responses as for other DT tests may be assessed quantitatively or qualitatively usually done by consensual rating techniques where a pool of expert and/or trained judges make a range of specic judgments with respect to issues like overall quality, originality and realism as well as complexity, use of principles or the number of positive vs negative outcomes. Perhaps the best known scoring technique is that of Hennessey and Amabile (1988) who specied six principles while others (Mumford, Marks, Connelly, Zaccaro, & Johnson, 1998) have added others. 1.2. DT and intelligence Numerous researchers have attempted to examine the relationship between DT and intelligence. Batey and Furnham (2006) have


A. Furnham, M. Nederstrom / Personality and Individual Differences 48 (2010) 957961

recently conducted an exhaustive review of the area and concluded that they are modestly related with correlations in the area of r = .20 to r = .40. This is the case for samples as diverse as architects and air force ofcers, to ordinary and gifted school children. The relationship between intelligence and DT, however, has been demonstrated to be non-linear (Guilford, 1967), such that at low levels of intelligence there are signicant relationships between the two constructs, however, above a quotient of approximately 120 the correlation between intelligence and DT is non-signicant (Guilford, 1981; Torrance, 1962; Yamamoto, 1964). However Preckel, Holling, and Wiese (2006) reported data that speak against threshold theory. Hence whilst we examine the relationship between DT and intelligence we do not posit a specic hypothesis. Studies have specically examined cognitive ability (i.e. intelligence) correlates of the DT Consequences Test. Mumford et al. (1998) tested over 1800 military personnel and found measures of intelligence correlated on the order of r = .21 to r = .29 with Consequences Test ratings of quality, originality, realism and complexity. In a more sophisticated study of 110 military leaders, Vincent, Decker, and Mumford (2002) found intelligence correlated with the Consequences Test idea generation on the order of r = .25. Their model showed divergent thinking was signicantly related to intelligence, expertise and idea generation which through idea implementation predicted leader performance. More recently Batey and Furnham (in press) found DT uency for the Consequences Test to be unrelated to intelligence. Furnham and Bachtiar (2008) conrmed this in a study of four different measures of creativity; intelligence (as assessed by the Wonderlic Personnel Scale) was a non-signicant correlate of all four measures. 1.3. DT and personality The study of the personality traits associated with DT has also been well documented (Batey & Furnham, 2006). Research utilising the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (EPQ: Eysenck & Eysenck 1975) found positive signicant relationships between DT and Psychoticism (Aguilar-Alonso, 1996; Kline & Cooper, 1986; Woody & Claridge, 1977). Signicant positive relationships have been observed with regards to Extraversion (Aguilar-Alonso, 1996). Research employing the Five Factor Model paradigm has tended to nd consistent positive relationships of DT to Openness to Experience (King, Walker, & Broyles, 1996; McCrae, 1987; Wuthrich & Bates, 2001) and Extraversion (King et al., 1996; Martindale & Dailey, 1996). These results received wider support in the comprehensive meta-analysis of Feist (1998). Furnham and Bachtiar (2008) found Extraversion and Openness from the Big Five accounted for 47% of the variance in predicting DT. They note however that the reason why Extraversion may be such a consistent predictor is because in their study the creativity test was administered in a group setting. There is a growing interest in the relationship between DT scores and dark-side measures of personality or sub-clinical measures of psychopathology. Researchers have found relationships between hypomania and DT (Furnham, Batey, Anand, & Maneld 2008; Schuldberg, 20002001) in addition to schizotypy and DT (Batey & Furnham, in press; Cox & Leon, 1999; Green & Williams, 1999). 1.4. This study This study used a different but well established personality measure notably the Jackson PRF (Jackson, 1984). This modied test has been shown to measure four of the ve Big Five dimensions of personality. Based on the previous literature it is predicted that Extraversion will be a signicant predictor of DT.

This study set out to examine demographic, personality trait and disorder as well as intelligence correlates and predictors of DT as measured by the Consequences Test in a large Finnish working population. The study is unique in three ways. First personality was measured using the Finnish version of the Jackson Personality Research Form (Jackson, 1984), which measures 16 personality variables at the facet level (rather than domain level). Few studies on creativity have used this well established test which may yield interesting insights. Next, this study utilised three different intelligence tests that measured abstract, verbal and numerical reasoning. It was therefore possible to explore whether different, but related, features of intelligence predicted creativity. Third, it has been speculated that there are demographic correlates of creativity. This study explored gender and age correlates of creativity. 2. Method 2.1. Participants There were a total of 10,415 participants of whom 62.6% were males. They were all middle to senior managers of a multinational communication organisation. In all 26.1% had school leaving qualications, 17% a bachelor degree or equivalent and 56.9% some post graduate qualication. They ranged from 19 to 63 years old (mean age = 35.44 years, SD = 7.99). Not all participants completed all the tests and hence the N changes depending on the analysis employed. 2.2. Measures 2.2.1. Consequences It is a classical idea uency test, which is intended to measure raw idea productivity. This is made with three different simulation-like scenarios, and the candidates task is to produce as many consequences from the scenarios as possible. The raw score (the number of ideas) is then standardised with several thousand candidates from all age and education groups. It has been standardised on 5782 adults and has a mean score of 20.45 and an SD of 7.81.It is available, in Finnish, from the second author. 2.2.2. Personality Research Form (PRF) (Jackson, 1984) Form E of the measure was designed to measure 20 variables drawn from the theoretical work of Murray (1938). The test has been used extensively in research though there is debate surrounding its dimensional structure (Jackson, Paunonen, Fraboni, & Goffen, 1996). Various translations have been made such as one in German, but these are often shortened versions because not all scales translate equally reliably. This test was translated, standardised and validated in Finland in 1997, by Psycon, a psychological consultancy group. Primary analysis of the scale suggested certain changes be made. Eight scales were dropped out (Abasement, Autonomy, Change, Endurance, Play, Infrequency, Social Recognition and Understanding) and three scales added later (Guilt feelings, Anxiety and Social Desirability). The Achievement scale is the only one which has been changed at item-level, because the original scale had already low reliability. Others were strictly translated from English to Finnish. The Finnish manual has extensive information about the validation process. All the new scales were factor-analysed afterwards with the original scales showing four separate factors (1) Dominance + Exhibition + Achievement, (2) Succorance + Afliation + Nurturance, (3) Cognitive structure + Order + Impulsivity and (4) Dependence + Guilt Feelings + Anxiety. These translate to Extraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness and Neuroticism.

A. Furnham, M. Nederstrom / Personality and Individual Differences 48 (2010) 957961


2.2.3. Compound Series Test (CST) (Morrisby, 1995) This is an abstract reasoning test that identied the ability to solve problems from rst principles. It takes 30 min to complete and has extensive evidence of concurrent validity.

4. Results Correlational results are shown in Table 1. The results indicate females scored higher on Agreeableness and Neuroticism but males higher on Extraversion and Conscientiousness. The three reasoning tests were modestly intercorrelated, though a little lower in the case of NUM with CST than may be expected. Four of the 10 correlations with DT were >.10. Two were for intelligence, one personality and one demography. The results were conrmed by the regressions shown in Table 2. This was signicant and showed that there were four signicant predictors which accounted for nearly a 10th of the variance. Results showed that female extraverts who scored highest in verbal and numerical reasoning did best. The regression was entered in three blocks: demography, personality and intelligence in different orders to attempt to measure the increment validity, however betas are from the nal regression with all the variables entered These indicated that roughly equal amounts (around 4%) of variance were accounted for by personality and intelligence and around 12% by demographic factors.

2.2.4. Verbal Critical Reasoning Test (Klaczynski, Gordon, & Fauth, 1997) This contains 15 short texts and three claims about every text, and the candidates job is to nd out the true statements. It has been standardised with 10,507 candidates in all age (2060 years) and education groups. It has positive and signicant correlations to other ability tests (Raven, r = .29; CST, r = .37; NRT, r = .37), but this paper is only for internal use. It has an Alpha of .89 (Primrose, Fuller, & Littledyke, 2000).

2.2.5. Numeric Reasoning Test (NRT) (Holzman, Pellegrino, & Glaser, 1983) This test measures basic numerical reasoning with 6 min time limit. It has 40 items, such as: 1, 4, 7, 10, 13, what number comes next? This test has also gone through a 5 year standardisation procedure with 7639 candidates from all age (2060 years) and education groups in our assessment process as well. The Alpha is .91.

4.1. Facet analysis The questionnaire used to measure personality was the 16 scale PRF. This allowed for a closer analysis of the facet predictors of DT. Table 3 shows the regression with DT as the criterion variable and the 16 facets (plus gender and age) as predictor variables. The results showed that ve of the 16 factors proved signicant. Those scoring high in exhibition, dominance, cognitive structure, sentience and achievement did best on the DT test. The manual describes these dimensions thus: achievement as the desire to accomplish difcult tasks, work toward distance goals, maintain high standards and be competitive; cognitive structure as intolerance and anxiety associated with ambiguity and uncertainty as well as a liking for denite facts rather than probabilities; dominance a preference for leadership, inuence and direction as well as the forceful expression of emotions; exhibition as being dramatic, witty, attention seeking and sentience being hedonistic and aesthetic and being particularly sensitive to sensory stimulation of all sorts. It is important to note, but highly predictable, negative predictor for DT was cognitive structure which is essentially a measure of intolerance-of-ambiguity. Table 4 shows a nal regression with three demographic variables (sex, education and age) three intelligence measures and the 16 facet level factors. The analysis is comparable to that in Table 2 but here the 16 facets rather than four domains were used.

3. Procedure Participants from over a dozen different companies in different sectors were required to attend a middle management assessment centre where they completed the questionnaires, tests and took part in various exercises. A number of trained and experienced consultants scored the tests following standard procedures. The assessment was aimed at determining the suitability of each manager for promotion. Each manager was given feedback on the results, including how he/she related to the test norms as well as his/her colleagues. Because data collection was done at an assessment centre it is possible that scores may be distorted through impression management processes. This could lead to defensiveness on the part of participants with truncated scores and reduced variance. Examination of scores suggests this may have occurred but only for a few dimensions of the preference tests (i.e. the measure of neuroticism) but there remained considerable variations in each dimension of each measure.

Table 1 Results of the correlational analysis showing results between demographic factors, ability tests, personality domains and DT. G Gender (G) Education (E) Age (A) CST (C) VCR (V) NRT (N) F1 Extraversion F2 Agreeableness F3 Conscientiousness F4 Neuroticism DT .06 .01 .04 .00 .03 .13 .17 .10 .13 .07 E A C V N F1 F2 F3 F4

.00 .20 .21 .07 .15 .00 .11 .03 .11

.09 .04 .01 .00 .04 .03 .01 .02

.37 .06 .01 .02 .11 .00 .06

.36 .07 .07 .14 .04 .20

.02 .03 .02 .03 .10

.21 .12 .14 .19

.14 .06 .04

.31 .06


N > 7846 except for NUM where at = 2570. Correlations r > .20 are shown in bold. CST: Compound Series Test. VCR: Verbal Critical Reasoning Test. NRT: Numerical Reasoning Test.


A. Furnham, M. Nederstrom / Personality and Individual Differences 48 (2010) 957961 Table 4 Results of the regression with DT as criterion variable and rst demographic, then ability, then personality variables added as predictors. b Gendera Education Age CST VCR NRT Achievement Afliation Aggression Guilt feelings Cognitive structure Dependence Dominance Exhibition Harm avoidance Impulsivity Nurturance Order Sentience Succorance Social desirability Anxiety F(22, 1364) = 7.38, p < .001, Adj R2 = .09 CST: Compound Series Test. VCR: Verbal Critical Reasoning Test. NRT: Numerical Reasoning Test. * p < .05. ** p < .01. *** p < .001. a Males were coded as 1, females as 2. .08 .00 .03 .06 .18 .08 .062 0.22 .003 .041 .062 .014 .074 .120 .017 .016 .050 .005 .113 .013 .013 .003 t 2.54** 0.08 0.89 1.87 6.21*** 2.43** 2.04* 0.65 0.07 1.25 1.8 0.48 2.21* 3.63*** 0.57 0.45 1.55 0.14 3.65*** 0.45 0.37 .08

Table 2 Regressional results with demographic, ability and personality factors as predictor variables and DT as the criterion variable. b .12 Gendera Age .00 Education .04 CST abstract .06 VCR verbal .19 NRT numerical .08 F1 Extraversion .21 F2 Agreeableness .00 F3 Conscientiousness .05 F4 Neuroticism .03 F(10, 1354) = 14.29, p < .001, Adj R2 = .09
** *** a

t 4.42*** 0.15 1.46 1.91 6.39** 2.41** 7.39*** 0.00 1.67 1.16

Mean 33.44 31.53 28.06 25.46 32.33 32.07 14.82 13.24

SD 16.17 6.26 7.54 7.02 7.53 6.45 6.40 5.52

p < .01. p < .001. Males were coded as 1, females as 2.

Table 3 Regression showing the 16 personality variables and age and gender as predictor variables and DT as the criterion variable. Variable R b .074 .019 .046 .010 .005 .025 .075 .009 .108 .113 .008 .006 .022 .026 .057 .005 .001 .025 t 4.55*** 1.42 3.14** 0.59 0.31 1.54 4.40*** 0.64 6.57*** 6.71*** 0.50 0.34 1.40 1.66 3.66*** 0.32 0.06 1.45

.07 Gendera Age .02 Achievement .09 Afliation .06 Aggression .04 Guilt feelings .00 Cognitive structure .11 Dependence .03 Dominance .16 Exhibition .18 Harm avoidance .04 Impulsivity .09 Nurturance .04 Order .04 Sentience .09 Succorance .02 Social desirability .00 Anxiety .04 F(18, 5483) = 19.82, p < .001, Adj R2 = .06
** *** a

p < .01. p < .001. Males were coded as 1, females as 2.

The results show that four of the ve signicant predictors remained signicant with exhibition and sentence being powerful predictors. Effects are overall rather small and facet analysis does not do much better than domain analysis in the prediction of DT.

5. Discussion The results conrm and extend the literature in this area. It shows that intelligence is a modest correlate of creativity as measured by a DT test. However not all tests are equally predictive and it is clear that verbal reasoning is a more powerful predictor than abstract or numerical reasoning. This makes sense given that the test of creativity in this study was essentially a verbal test rather than one that may rely on art, abstract patterns or numbers. Verbal intelligence thus may be a stronger correlate of verbal creativity tests while spatial intelligence may be a better correlate of more art-oriented creativity tests like the BarronWelsh Art Scale (Welsh, 1987). The intelligencepersonality correlations were lower than reported in past research though it is not clear why? The central question is the process/mechanism by which intelligence relates to creativity. The rst issue is speed of processing.

Although not under much time pressure DT tests are timed and it maybe that speed of thinking helps brighter people get higher scores. Second it is possible verbal intelligence is related to DT measures of creativity because DT is essentially a verbal task. However it should be recognised as has been shown in many studies using different measures of both intelligence and creativity, that correlations are modest. In this study they ranged from r = .06 to r = .20. The Extraversion domain factor was the only one to be related to creativity in the regression (Table 1). Precisely, why extraversion is related to creativity is unclear? It may be through mood mechanisms. That is, we know that people are more creative when in good rather than neutral or bad mood. We know also that extraverts are more likely to experience positive emotions than introverts. Hence it is possible that there is a consistent albeit modest relationship between extraversion and creativity (Batey & Furnham, 2006). An analysis of the facet level determinants (see Tables 3 and 4), however help to explain the complex and subtle relationship between personality traits and creativity. Table 3 showed that ve of the 16 facets predicted DT. Three of these (Achievement, Dominance, Exhibitionism) made up the Extraversion factor. The other two facets are particularly interesting. First sentience, which according to the manual, does not load on any of the higher order factors, is very similar to the Big Five dimension of Openness which has shown consistently to predict DT and other measures of creativity (Furnham & Bachtiar, 2008; Furnham et al., 2008). The denition of Sentience is very similar to the facets of Openness and suggest that it is an aesthetic appreciation that is correlated with creativity. Indeed results from studies suggest that it is Openness that is most strongly correlated with all forms of creativity (Batey & Furnham, 2006; Gelade, 1995). However the results did show that facet vs domain analysis did not explain anymore of the variance. This maybe because of the DT score itself which is rather a

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broad brush measure. Had other DT criteria been assessed like originality and uniqueness the facet analysis may have been more sensitive and accounted for more of the variance. Certainly uncertainty-avoidance, intolerance-of-ambiguity or what ever this factor is called is inversely correlated with all forms of creativity, particularly DT. There is little consensus about demographic correlates of creativity. Some studies suggest modest sex, age and education effects (Furnham & Bachtiar, 2008). This study demonstrated a modest but signicant sex effect but no age or education effect. This warrants explanation. Most arts (painting, music literature) have been and remains dominated by men, though the reasons for this are keenly debated. It is possible that as this sample consisted mainly of successful business people it maybe that females have to be more talented to get to the top in this area than males, However it should be recalled that this was Finnish data and that all Scandinavian and Nordic countries are famous for their sexual equality. There were no sex differences on the ability tests though there were on the personality tests with females being more Neurotic and Agreeable than males. However the sex difference in creativity warrants further exploration for an explanation. This study adds to the differential psychological literature on creativity. However what is less certain is whether, when and how trait creativity relates to work success. There are certainly jobs that seek out creative people such as advertising, marketing, R and D and design although the precise nature of their creativity might differ. It certainly would be of great interest to work psychologists to investigate to what extent and why DT is related to particular forms of business success. Second, some personality dimensions related to DT. Previous studies have shown that Psychoticism (from the Eysenckian model) and Openness (from the Big Five Model) are strongest predictors of creativity. Batey and Furnham (2006) have tabulated over a dozen studies that statistically established this relationship on different population groups. At the domain level it was apparent in both correlational (Table 1) and regressional (Table 2) analyses that Extraversion was the only major correlate of Creativity. This is a similar nding to that of Furnham and Bachtiar (2008) who used the FFI measure of the Big ve as personality measures and DT as the dependent measure of creativity. This study had various limitations. Although it had a big adult population it had only one measure of creativity, namely DT. Further none of the ability or personality tests were particularly well known despite their psychometrically acceptable properties. References
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