Words. Creativity. Thought process. It isn’t hard to figure out why this particular article caught this bibliophile’s attention. And the idea of measuring creativity tickled the data-loving part of my brain. This interesting news came to us from McGill University in their article, “Measuring creativity, one word at a time.”

According to an international team of researchers from McGill University, Harvard University and the University of Melbourne, a simple exercise of naming unrelated words and then measuring the semantic distance between them could serve as an objective measure of creativity.

So what is semantic distance? Semantic distance or similarity is a new metric defined over a set of documents or terms, where the idea of distance between items is based on the likeness of their meaning or semantic content as opposed to lexicographical similarity.

The term “semantic similarity” is often confused with semantic relatedness, which includes any relation between two terms.

While studies of creativity and its strength are not new, relatively little is known about the process itself. If we understand its complexity better, we can create opportunities to foster creativity in all its forms.

Melody K. Smith

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