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The Roles of Novelty and the Organization of Stimulus Material in Divergent Thinking


  • Sergey R. Yagolkovskiy

    () (National Research University Higher School of Economics)

  • Anatoliy V. Kharkhurin

    () (American University of Sharjah)


This study examines the effects of the novelty and organization of stimulus material on divergent thinking. Participants were 129 undergraduate students of (84 male and 45 female) aged between 17 and 20. Divergent thinking was assessed by the Unusual Uses test, in which participants had to generate as many uses as possible for a wooden ruler. Participants were primed with either rare or common ideas which were presented either in three sets or simultaneously in one set. We found a significant effect of novelty on originality. Participants primed with rare stimuli significantly outperformed those primed with common stimuli on originality. We also found a significant effect of organization on fluency. Participants primed with the discrete stimulus set significantly outperformed those primed with the concurrent stimulus set on fluency. Finally, we found a marginally significant interactive effect of novelty and organization on fluency and originality. Participants who were primed with rare stimuli in discrete sets tended to obtain higher fluency and originality scores than participants in other groups. This means that the discrete organization of stimuli presentation can serve as a means to strengthen the positive effect of novel stimuli exposure. The results of the study can be applied to procedures and techniques for the stimulation of creativity.

Suggested Citation

  • Sergey R. Yagolkovskiy & Anatoliy V. Kharkhurin, 2015. "The Roles of Novelty and the Organization of Stimulus Material in Divergent Thinking," HSE Working papers WP BRP 41/PSY/2015, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hig:wpaper:41psy2015

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    divergent thinking; creativity; idea generation; stimulus material;

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    • Z - Other Special Topics

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