I like words. I consider myself a bibliophile. I also like word games. So the topic of this recent study tickled my brain. Science Daily brought this interesting topic to our attention in their article, “Measuring creativity, one word at a time.”

Can you think of three words that are completely unrelated to one another? What about four, five, or even ten? An international team of researchers from McGill University, Harvard University and the University of Melbourne, put together a simple exercise of naming unrelated words and then measuring the semantic distance between them could serve as an objective measure of creativity.

“Creativity is fundamental to human life,” explains Jay Olson, a recent PhD graduate from McGill’s Department of Psychiatry, who is now a Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard. “The more we understand its complexity, the better we can foster creativity in all its forms.”

But can you test for creativity?

The team’s first study highlighted moderate to strong correlations between semantic distance and two commonly used creativity measures (the Alternative Uses Task and the Bridge-the-Associative Gap Task). Overall, semantic distance correlated at least as strongly with established creativity measures as those measures did with each other.

Just enough to make me want to read more. How about you?

Melody K. Smith

Sponsored by Data Harmony, a unit of Access Innovations, the world leader in indexing and making content findable.