ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

心理学报 ›› 2020, Vol. 52 ›› Issue (10): 1178-1188.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2020.01178

• 研究报告 • 上一篇    下一篇


栾墨1,2, 吴霜2,3, 李虹2,4()   

  1. 1对外经济贸易大学国际商学院, 北京 100029
    2清华大学心理学系, 北京 100084
    3加州大学圣迭戈分校雷迪管理学院, 拉霍亚 92093 美国
    4清华大学深圳研究生院, 深圳 518055
  • 收稿日期:2019-07-10 发布日期:2020-08-24 出版日期:2020-10-25
  • 通讯作者: 李虹
  • 基金资助:
    * 国家自然科学基金项目(71871124);国家社科基金重点项目(20AZD085)

The relationship between anticipated communication and creativity: Moderating role of construal level

LUAN Mo1,2, WU Shuang2,3, LI Hong2,4()   

  1. 1International School of Business, University of International Business and Economics, Beijing 100029, China
    2Department of Psychology, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
    3Rady School of Management, University of California-San Diego, La Jolla, CA, 92093, USA
    4Tsinghua Shenzhen International Graduate School at Shenzhen, Tsinghua University, Shenzhen 518055, China
  • Received:2019-07-10 Online:2020-08-24 Published:2020-10-25
  • Contact: LI Hong


该研究探讨了预期交流对创造力的影响, 以及解释水平在其中的调节作用。实验1采用结构性想象任务探讨预期交流是否影响创造力。结果表明, 相较于没有预期交流, 预期交流条件下的个体表现出更高的创造力。实验2采取了创意产生任务, 并探讨了解释水平在其中的调节作用。结果表明, 当完成抽象的、高解释水平任务时, 相较于无预期交流, 预期交流条件下个体在新奇性和变通性两个维度上表现出了更高的创造力; 当完成具体的、低解释水平任务时, 预期交流的效应不复存在。也就是说, 只有当创造力任务要求高解释水平的抽象思维时, 预期交流才能促进创造力的发挥。总结而言, 本研究在过往对于交流与创造力以及解释水平与创造力的研究基础上进一步发现, 对于抽象创造力任务, 虽然真正的信息交流尚未发生, 但仅仅对于交流的预期就会提高创造力水平。

关键词: 预期交流, 创造力, 解释水平, 调节作用


Early research on creativity viewed it as intellectual skills and thinking styles, or as a personal trait. In recent decades, however, researchers recognized that creativity can be influenced by social contexts, and therefore can vary within individuals. Among the social factors that significantly increase creativity, communication is a substantial one. Past research proposed that the generation of creative ideas is often a result of communication among different people. However, little research investigated how anticipated communication might affect creativity. This omission is striking because although communication helps to refine an idea, some important original ideas often come up before any communication actually takes place. In generating these original ideas, would differences in levels of creativity already manifest for creators who expect communication versus those who do not? Without any prior exchange of knowledge, skills and ideas, would mere anticipation of subsequent communication influence creativity? The current research examines the influence of anticipated communication on creativity and the moderating role of construal levels in this process.
Experiment 1 adopted a structured imagination task to explore the main effect of anticipated communication on creativity. In this experiment, each participant performed an alien-drawing task. We hypothesized that the anticipation of communication, as opposed to no such anticipation, facilitates creative generation in drawing aliens. Experiment 2 used a new paradigm - an idea generation task - to measure creativity and examined the moderating role of construal levels required by the task. In this experiment, we devised two creative generation tasks that varied in their construal levels. Both tasks centered around the same topic—greetings. The high construal level task asked about why one should greet others whereas the low construal level one asked about how one can greet others. We hypothesized that for tasks with a high level of construal, anticipated communication facilitates creative generation, whereas for tasks with a low level of construal, the anticipated communication group no longer has the edge.
The results of Experiment 1 showed the influence of anticipated communication on creativity. When people anticipated communication, compared with when they did not hold this anticipation, the aliens they drew were considered as more creative. Results of Study 2 suggested that when responding to why they greet others, people displayed more novelty and flexibility when they anticipated communication than not. However, when people responded to how they greet others, the effect of anticipated communication was no longer present. That is to say, construal levels play a moderating role between the anticipation of communication and creative generation, and the anticipation of communication only enhances creativity when the creative task requires high-level, abstract thinking.
Taken together, the studies build upon past research on the relationship between communication and creativity as well as research on the relationship between construal levels and creativity. For abstract creative tasks, expectation about communication is sufficient to bring about an increase in creativity even before any informational exchange happens. Creativity can be promoted before any communication actually takes place, as long as communication is expected.

Key words: anticipated communication, creativity, construal level, moderating effect