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.
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