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 journalArticle


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
Pages (from-to)(In-Press)
JournalThinking Skills and Creativity
Early online date4 Oct 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Oct 2020


  • imagery
  • creativity
  • measurement
  • dance
  • choreography
  • training
  • flexibility
  • fluency
  • originality
  • novelty

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