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How Do You Tell If Something Is Creative?

How Do You Tell If Something Is Creative?

How do you tell if something is creative? One of my college professors would cringe when my peers referred to anything creative as “interesting.” He asked that we use “buttery” instead, but we all knew that wasn’t doing it for him either. Here at the Digest, we are also a full service creative agency, so it’s our job to be the creative voice for our clients. Designing ads and brands for small businesses requires us to be quite clever. We know creative, but there is no numerical value for creativity. So if numbers can’t explain it, can words? Researchers at Michigan State University say it may be possible.

Recently an MSU research team, led by neuroscientist Jeremy Gray, created a test that measures a person’s creativity from a single spoken word. 193 people were shown several nouns over the course of two minutes and were told to respond creatively with a single verb for each noun they saw. As it happened, the participants who gave the most creative verbs (that somehow pertained to each of the nouns) were actually the most creative in the more in-depth methods of the test, such as story writing and drawing. Essentially, the more original answers were seen as creative. For instance, when shown the noun “chair”, answers like “stand” registered higher in creativity than more common answers like “sit.” The researchers and Gray are continuing to give the noun-verb test, but now they’re using an MRI in order to study volunteers’ brain activity during the test. You can read the full story at Science Daily.

It may not be long before Gray discovers a more scientific way to tell if something is creative. Until then, there really is no magic equation to measure creativity. If it halts your current train of thought, takes your focus, and leaves you wondering, that’s creative.