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      Are Creative People Better than Others at Recognizing Creative Work?

      a , * , b , 1

      Thinking Skills and Creativity

      Elsevier Ltd.

      Creativity, Assessment, Ratings, Expertise

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          • Rating paradigms often focus on identifying the “Best” candidate, product, or solution

          • Highly creative individuals are better than their peers at identifying uncreative products

          • Rater creativity was not related to the ability to recognizing highly creative products

          • Expert ratings of the quality of a creative product are driven more by the ability to identify low quality work as opposed to high quality work

          • Ruling out the least creative candidate, product, or solution may be more important – or at least require more creative expertise – than identifying the “Best” of the bunch.


          It is often assumed that people with high ability in a domain will be excellent raters of quality within that same domain. This assumption is an underlying principle of using raters for creativity tasks, as in the Consensual Assessment Technique. While several prior studies have examined expert-novice differences in ratings, none have examined whether experts’ ability to identify the quality of a creative product is being driven more by their ability to identify high quality work, low quality work, or both. To address this question, a sample of 142 participants completed individual difference measures and rated the quality of several sets of creative captions. Unbeknownst to the participants, the captions had been identified a prior by expert raters as being of particularly high or low quality. Hierarchical regression analyses revealed that after controlling for participants’ background and personality, those who scored significantly higher on any of three external measures of creativity also rated low-quality captions significantly lower than their peers; however, they did not rate the high-quality captions significantly higher. These findings support research in other domains suggesting that ratings of quality may be driven more by the lower end of the quality spectrum than the high end.

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          Author and article information

          Think Skills Creat
          Think Skills Creat
          Thinking Skills and Creativity
          Elsevier Ltd.
          15 September 2020
          15 September 2020
          [a ]Wesleyan University, USA
          [b ]University of Connecticut, USA
          Author notes
          [* ]Corresponding author at: 207 High Street, Middletown, CT, 06437 USA

          Neag School of Education, 2131 Hillside Road, Unit 3007, Storrs, CT 06269-3007, USA.

          S1871-1871(20)30201-7 100727
          © 2020 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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          expertise, ratings, assessment, creativity


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