Date of Award


Access Control

Open Access

Degree Name

Creative Studies, M.S.


International Center for Studies in Creativity

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This thesis explored the impact that emotionally laden stimuli had on individuals’ creative process and creative products as assessed by independent domain experts. Sixtyfive undergraduate students were randomly separated into three treatment conditions and instructed to create an artistic collage composition on the theme of New Year’s Eve. Two of the treatment groups received, in addition to the general instructions set, a text based priming stimulus that was either an emotionally laden narrative or factual narrative about New Year’s Eve. All participants were asked to complete a task reflection questionnaire and the FourSight cognitive style measure. Using the Consensual Assessment Technique framework, six independent domain experts rated each collage in 18 distinct dimensions including Creativity. Although there was no significant difference in the Creativity Scale score between the three treatments groups (the group that received the emotional narrative was hypothesized to outperform the other two groups), an interaction effect emerged between the presence of the emotionally laden narrative and two of FourSight’s cognitive style preferences, which modulated creative performance. Implications of these findings are discussed as well as limitations and recommendations for future research efforts in the topic of emotion and creative cognition.