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Poster E139

Relationships Between Alpha Waves, Creative Thinking, and Stress

Poster Session E - Monday, April 15, 2024, 2:30 – 4:30 pm EDT, Sheraton Hall ABC

Serena Bruneaux1 (, Dakota Taylor1, Adam Lawson1; 1Eastern Kentucky University

The current study used electroencephalography (EEG) to examine relationships between alpha waves and creative thinking. Alpha is indicative of a more relaxed mental state and has been associated with creativity. Previous literature on this subject has been contradictory. While most studies have found a relationship between creativity and alpha activity (Ermakov & Saakyan, 2013; Rominger et al., 2019), other studies have not found this relationship (Benedek et al., 2011). These inconsistencies may be related to task differences (Dietrich & Kanso, 2010) and stress levels (Wang et al., 2019). The current study was conducted to address these inconsistencies and determine if creative task difference and stress played a role in modulating creativity-related alpha activity. A within-subjects experimental design was developed. Thirty-nine participants were given a divergent thinking creativity task, an artistic creativity task, and a non-creative task. EEG data was collected during the thinking phase of all three tasks. Additionally, current stress levels were measured before the tasks were given. A repeated-measures ANOVA revealed significant differences in alpha power between the three tasks at posterior and frontal electrode sites (Pz, FP1, F7, F8). Alpha power was higher for both creative tasks than the noncreative task. Correlational analyses, however, did not reveal any significant relationships between stress levels and alpha power during the three tasks. These results support prior research showing that alpha power is sensitive to creativity, but everyday stress levels may not influence creativity as measured by alpha activity.

Topic Area: THINKING: Other


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