Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Psychology


Social/Personality Psychology

Content Description

1 online resource (viii, 85 pages) : illustrations.

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Ronald S Friedman

Committee Members

James C Kaufman, Mark Muraven


Creativity, Divergent thinking, Ego-depletion, insight, Self-control, Creative thinking, Cognition, Creative ability, Cognitive consistency

Subject Categories

Psychology | Social Psychology


Two studies were conducted to investigate how ego-depletion influences performance on two frequently used indicators of creative cognition: divergent thinking and insight problem solving. In the first study, participants (N= 152) were randomly assigned to one of six conditions, based on a depletion (ego-depletion vs. control vs. difficult, non-depletion) x task instruction (creativity vs. fluency) design. After completing a well-established ego-depletion procedure (i.e., re-typing a paragraph without using the letter “e” or the spacebar vs. re-typing it as one normally would or completing moderately difficult math problems), participants completed three AUTs (asking them to generate uses for a brick, paperclip, and newspaper) with instructions that prompted either fluency (i.e., list as many uses as possible or creativity (i.e., as many creative and unusual uses as possible). Analyses of the responses (scored for fluency, statistical uniqueness, and subjectively-rated creativity) revealed a significant interaction effect on the subjectively-rated creativity of the responses, wherein ego-depleted participants exhibited poorer creativity when task instructions prompted creativity and greater creativity when task instructions prompted fluency. Although participants who received task instructions prompting creativity (opposed to fluency) provided significantly more creative responses in the two control conditions, task instructions had no effect for those in the depletion condition. The main effect of task instruction on uniqueness scores was also significant (i.e., participants asked to be creative provided more