ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

心理学报 ›› 2022, Vol. 54 ›› Issue (8): 881-891.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2022.00881

• 研究报告 • 上一篇    下一篇


陈嫣然1, 梁正1, 赵庆柏1(), 黄宇1, 李松清1,2, 于全磊1(), 周治金1()   

  1. 1青少年网络心理与行为教育部重点实验室, 华中师范大学心理学院, 湖北省人的发展与心理健康重点实验室, 武汉 430079
    2海军工程大学电子工程学院, 武汉 430079
  • 收稿日期:2021-08-04 发布日期:2022-06-23 出版日期:2022-08-25
  • 通讯作者: 赵庆柏,于全磊,周治金;;
  • 基金资助:

Semantic search during creative thinking: A quantitative analysis based on cumulative distribution and semantic similarity of responses

CHEN Yanran1, LIANG Zheng1, ZHAO Qingbai1(), Huang Yu1, LI Songqing1,2, YU Quanlei1(), ZHOU Zhijin1()   

  1. 1Key Laboratory of Adolescent Cyberpsychology and Behavior (CCNU), Ministry of Education; School of Psychology, Central China Normal University; Key Laboratory of Human Development and Mental Health of Hubei Province, Wuhan 430079, China
    2College of Electronic Engineering, Naval University of Engineering, Wuhan 430034, China
  • Received:2021-08-04 Online:2022-06-23 Published:2022-08-25
  • Contact: ZHAO Qingbai,YU Quanlei,ZHOU Zhijin;;


通过描绘发散性思维测验(物品多用途, AUT)中答案生成在累积函数和语义相似性等一系列参数上的量化特征, 揭示创造性思维的语义搜索过程。结果发现:(1)新颖AUT条件中, 语义搜索呈现与自由联想类似的负加速特点, 但搜索速度较寻常AUT条件更慢。(2)新颖AUT条件中所生成的答案与题目(即物品)均具有较低的语义相似性, 且显著小于寻常AUT条件。(3)新颖AUT条件中生成的答案比寻常AUT条件表现出显著更低的聚类程度, 其中可聚类答案和未聚类答案与题目的语义相似度均较低, 且不存在显著差异, 二者在新颖性上也不存在显著差异。以上结果说明了创造性思维的语义信息搜索过程具有与自由联想类似的激活扩散特征, 但总体搜索速度较慢。新颖性要求使得个体在最初搜索时便开始摆脱题目的语义限制而进行远距离搜索(避免就近搜索), 并倾向于在每个语义场中只生成一个答案(避免局部搜索), 但也可能会在远离题目的语义场中生成多个同类别答案。

关键词: 创造性思维, 语义搜索, 负加速, 聚类, 语义相似性


The semantic search during creative thinking refers to the activation process of semantic information in long-term memory involved in creative activities. Influential theory has posited that the semantic activation process in free recall shows spreading activation within semantic networks and is characterized by negative acceleration and clustering. Unlike the free recall, it is necessary to suppress the dominant response and to activate novel and distant information during creative thinking. Therefore, one might expect different semantic search processes during creative thinking, but such a hypothesis has not yet been directly tested. To explore the semantic search process during creative thinking, the present study described the quantitative dynamic characteristics of answer generation in a divergent thinking test using a series of parameters, such as cumulative response distribution and semantic similarity.
The experiment employed a within-subject design with the task type (novel V.S. normal) as the independent variable. The experiment included two versions of alternative uses task (AUT): novel and normal AUT. In the novel AUT, participants were asked to report novel and valid uses for the daily-life items presented on the screen as many as possible, while in the normal AUT they were only asked to think of valid uses for objects as many as possible. During the experiment, participants completed two normal AUTs, followed by two novel AUTs. Each AUT lasted for three minutes. The novelty of responses and semantic similarity of responses were scored by participants themselves. The time function of the cumulative number of responses was fitted by the hyperbolic function, and clustering analysis was conducted based on the semantic similarity of responses.
The results showed that: (1) The cumulative response distribution in the novel AUT condition were negatively accelerating similar to semantic search during free recall, but the search speed in the novel AUT condition was slower than that of the normal AUT condition. (2) In the novel AUT condition, the semantic similarity between participants’ responses and the questions (i.e., the items) was low and significantly lower than that in the normal AUT condition. (3) The responses in the novel AUT condition showed a significantly lower degree of clustering than that in the normal AUT condition. In the novel AUT condition, the semantic similarity between the clusterable and non-clusterable answers and the questions were low and not significantly different. Furthermore, there was no significant difference between the clusterable and non-clusterable answers in terms of novelty.
These findings indicated that the semantic search during creative thinking was partly in line with spreading activation theory of semantic search in free call. But the search speed was relatively slower. Furthermore, the novelty requirement prompted the participants to break up the semantic restriction of the item at the initial search and avoid nearby search. The participants tended to generate few idea in each semantic field. However, when it is far away from the item in the semantic field, individuals might generate clustering ideas.

Key words: creative thinking, semantic search, negative acceleration, clustering, semantic similarity