The Interaction of Emotional Valence and Arousal on Attentional Breadth and Creative Task Performance

Viktoria Tidikis, Ivan K. Ash, Ann Futterman Collier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Within the literature, there are two opposing views regarding the influencing role of emotions on the creative process. The most commonly held view contends that positive emotions enhance creativity and negative emotions stifle it; yet, some studies show an opposite trend. These contradictory findings can be explained by examining two aspects of the emotions: attention and creativity relationship. First, emotional valence and arousal levels interact to affect attention. Second, creativity is not a unitary cognitive process and some stages rely more on focused attention but others are aided by diffused or broad attention. To test this proposition, two experiments were conducted. In Experiment 1, valence (positive vs. negative) and arousal (high vs. low) were manipulated and participants completed a series of attention and creativity tasks. Experiment 2 employed similar emotion induction procedure, but a different set of creative problems was used. The results of both experiments were consistent with the proposed explanation of the effects of emotions on creativity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)313-330
Number of pages18
JournalCreativity Research Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 3 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)


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