Investigating Creativity from a Semantic Network Perspective

  • Yoed N. KenettEmail author


Semantic memory plays a role in the creative process, either as an integral component or as the basis upon which executive functions operate on. Yet, due to the challenge of representing semantic memory, the relationship between semantic memory and creativity has not been thoroughly investigated. In recent years, computational network science tools are increasingly being applied at the cognitive level to examine language and memory systems. Network science is based on mathematical graph theory, providing quantitative methods to investigate complex systems as networks. Here, a series of semantic network studies aimed at investigating different facets of creativity in low- and high-creative individuals will be reviewed. These studies include representing their structure of semantic memory (both at the group and individual level), simulating uncontrolled search processes over their semantic memory, examining the relation of semantic memory structure to creative achievement and fluid intelligence, and relating flexibility of thought to the robustness of their semantic networks to attack. Finally, a general theory relating semantic memory structure to typical and atypical semantic processing will be presented and its relation to individual differences in creativity will be discussed. These studies demonstrate how the role of semantic memory in creativity can be investigated via quantitative measures of connectivity, distance, and structure of semantic networks. Thus, the application of network science tools to study creativity provides a quantitative and direct investigation of theories on creativity. Importantly, network science offers powerful tools in quantitatively studying different facets of high-level cognitive constructs such as creativity.


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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