Enhancing creativity by training metacognitive skills in mental imagery

Jon May, Emma Redding, Sarah Whatley, Klara Lucznik, Lucie Clements, Becca Weber, John Sikorski, Sara Benhard Reed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
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In a longitudinal study, 240 undergraduate dance students were recruited to assess the effectiveness of a series of workshops designed to develop metacognitive skills in use of mental imagery to support choreographic creativity. The workshops were based upon a theoretical model of mental representations and cognition. The students also completed a creativity test before the workshops, and a newly designed test of flexible thinking before and after the workshops, and a year later. Five forms of the flexible thinking test were created to allow for repeated administration over time, and the forms were shown to be equivalent and to correlate with the creativity test. Students who had taken part in the imagery workshops showed a greater improvement in flexible thinking a year after the training, compared to the scores of students who had not received the training. Evaluations of choreographic assessments by the students’ teachers were rated for positive and negative mentions of imagery and creativity, and the control group scored higher than the imagery group on use of imagery immediately after the training, but lower than the imagery group on both creativity and use of imagery four months after the workshop. The findings provide some support for the idea that domain specific creativity can be enhanced through developing skills in the use of mental imagery to produce novel ideas, and that this also improves domain general flexible thinking.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100739
JournalThinking Skills and Creativity
Early online date4 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Thinking Skills and Creativity. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Thinking Skills and Creativity, 38, (2020)
DOI: 10.1016/j.tsc.2020.100739

© 2020, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/


Leverhulme Trust project ‘In the Dancer’s Mind ’ [ RPG‑2014‑010 ]. Klara Łucznik was funded by the Marie Curie Initial Training Network [ FP7‑PEOPLE‑2013‑ITN ], CogNovo, grant number 604764


  • imagery
  • creativity
  • measurement
  • dance
  • choreography
  • training
  • flexibility
  • fluency
  • originality
  • novelty
  • Measurement
  • Originality
  • Choreography
  • Imagery
  • Flexibility
  • Creativity
  • Training
  • Fluency
  • Dance
  • Novelty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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