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Poster A57

Exploring the interplay of divergent creative thinking, smartphone use, mindfulness, and stress symptoms: A three-year cross-sectional study.

Poster Session A - Saturday, April 13, 2024, 2:30 – 4:30 pm EDT, Sheraton Hall ABC

Joshua Upshaw1 (, Darya Zabelina1; 1University of Arkansas

Creativity, frequently highlighted in art therapy for its stress-reducing benefits, still lacks robust empirical evidence linking this cognitive process to negative psychological states. Concurrently, as smartphone usage has soared globally, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, so too have stress levels. This trend suggests that smartphones, depending on their use, could either bolster or hinder creativity, potentially impacting stress. The current cross-sectional research examines relationships between divergent creative thinking, smartphone use, mindfulness, and stress among undergraduate student cohorts (N = 1153) from 2020 to 2023. Our study, spanning three years, investigates how smartphone usage and mindfulness affect the links between divergent thinking and negative psychological states. We evaluated smartphone usage through the Smartphone Addiction Scale, screen time, and social media engagement. Mindfulness was gauged using the Mindful Attention and Awareness Scale. We measured divergent thinking, a process involving cognitive control and novel idea generation, through fluency and originality in Alternative Uses Task responses. The Perceived Stress Scale assessed negative emotionality. Results revealed less novel, p < .001, yet more, p = .002, creative responses generated since 2020. Overall, smartphone use was linked to less creative responses, p = .039, however recent cohorts show increasingly positive associations between smartphone use and creativity p = .008. In contrast, mindfulness evidenced negative links with idea generation quantity over time, p = .042. This research examines relationships of technology on mental health and cognitive abilities, particularly in the academic context. Findings provide insights into how creativity and mindfulness are linked to smartphone use and stress.

Topic Area: EMOTION & SOCIAL: Emotion-cognition interactions


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April 13–16  |  2024