Critical Reading>Select an Answer
Fifty years ago, Sarnoff Mednick defined the process of creative thinking as "the forming of associative elements into new combinations which either meet specific requirements or are in some way useful. The more mutually remote the elements of the new combination, the more creative the process or solution." Mednick argued that creative people have flat associative hierarchies: they are better able to access distant, remote associations. For example, when given the concept "table," Mednick predicted that creative people would be more likely to retrieve more remote associations such as "leg" or "food." In contrast, Mednick argued that less creative thinkers have a steep associative hierarchy, in which words with a higher associative strength (e.g., chair) would be more likely to enter their minds:
The figure presents a graph of two lines. The following five words are indicated along the horizontal axis, from left to right: chair, cloth, wood, leg, and food. The vertical axis is labeled "Likelihood of retrieval." The word low is indicated at the bottom of the vertical axis and the word high is indicated at the top of the vertical axis. One line represents a flat associative hierarchy and one line represents a steep associative hierarchy. The flat associative hierarchy line begins at the word chair, approximately midway up the vertical axis. It curves slowly downward and to the right until it ends at the word food, approximately one-fourth of the way up the vertical axis. The steep associative hierarchy line begins at the word chair, at the top of the vertical axis. It moves steeply downward and to the right until it reaches the word cloth, slightly lower than midway up the vertical axis. It then moves gradually downward and to the right until it reaches the word leg, slightly above the horizontal axis. At this point, the line levels off until it reaches the word food. The two lines intersect at the word cloth, slightly lower than midway up the vertical axis.
[One] tool that has been used recently to look at creative cognition is Latent Semantic Analysis (LSA), an objective scoring method where you can derive a measure of semantic distance. With LSA, you can quantify the similarity between words or texts based on statistical analyses of the responses of a large population.
Using this technique, Ranjani Prabhakaran, Adam Green, and Jeremy Gray found that "thin slices" of verbal behavior (single-word utterances) predicted creative cognition. In their "verb generation" task, a noun was presented every few seconds, and the participant was instructed to say the first verb that came to mind in response to the noun. The researchers analyzed the semantic distance of the responses using LSA.
They found that the greater the semantic distance of the noun-verb pairs, the higher the levels of creative cognition, story-writing ability, openness to experience, and creative achievement. Interestingly, they also found a relationship between semantic distance and traditional measures of "convergent thinking," such as IQ and working memory. This suggests that creative thinking doesn't just involve combining distant associations, but also requires consciously accessing the associations.
Taken together, the passage and the graph best support which statement?
A.Less creative people would be somewhat likely to make remote associations and very unlikely to make close associations during the retrieval task.
B.Although creative people would be more likely than less creative people to make a remote association during the retrieval task, both groups would be most likely to make a close association.
C.Less creative people would be less likely than creative people to make close associations at the beginning of the retrieval task.
D.Although creative people would be more likely than less creative people to make a close association during the retrieval task, neither group would be very likely to make a remote association.