The dual pathway to creativity model: creative ideation as a function of flexibility and persistence
European Review of Social Psychology
Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
The dual pathway to creativity model argues that creativity—the generation of original and appropriate ideas—is a function
of cognitive flexibility and cognitive persistence, and that dispositional or situational variables may influence creativity
either through their effects on flexibility, on persistence, or both. This model is tested in a number of studies in which
participants performed creative ideation tasks. We review work showing that cognitive flexibility, operationalised as the
number of content categories surveyed, directly relates to idea originality, but that originality can also be achieved by
exploring a few content categories in great depth (i.e., persistence). We also show that a global processing mode is associated
with cognitive flexibility, but only leads to high originality in tasks that capitalise on cognitive flexibility. We finally
show that activating positive mood states enhance creativity because they stimulate flexibility, while activating negative
mood states can enhance creativity because they stimulate persistence. Implications for theory and practice are discussed.
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