Capturing, clarifying, and consolidating the curiosity-creativity connection

Wilma Koutstaal, Kara Kedrick, Joshua Gonzalez-Brito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The cognitive-motivational concepts of curiosity and creativity are often viewed as intertwined. Yet, despite the intuitively strong linkage between these two concepts, the existing cognitive-behavioral evidence for a curiosity-creativity connection is not strong, and is nearly entirely based on self-report measures. Using a new lab-based Curiosity Q&A task we evaluate to what extent behaviorally manifested curiosity—as revealed in autonomous inquiry and exploration—is associated with creative performance. In a preregistered study (N = 179) we show that, as hypothesized, the novelty of the questions that participants generated during the Curiosity Q&A Task significantly positively correlated with the originality of their responses on a divergent-thinking task (the conceptually-based Alternative Uses Task). Additionally, the extent to which participants sought out information that was implicitly missing in the presented factual stimuli ("gap-related information foraging") positively correlated with performance on two predominantly convergent-thinking tasks (the Remote Associates Task and Analogy Completion). Question asking, topic-related information foraging, and creative performance correlated with trait-based "interest-type" curiosity oriented toward exploration and novelty, but not with "deprivation-type" curiosity focused on dispelling uncertainty or ignorance. Theoretically and practically, these results underscore the importance of continuing to develop interventions that foster both creative thinking and active autonomous inquiry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number15300
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).


  • Creativity
  • Exploratory Behavior
  • Humans

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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