Year of Award


Document Type

Professional Paper

Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name

Experimental Psychology

Department or School/College

Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

David Schuldberg

Commitee Members

Paul Silverman, Jon Graham


Creativity, Problem Solving, Tower of Hanoi


University of Montana

Subject Categories



Creativity and emotions are well-studied constructs, and there is much work on their interrelations. However the empirical application of dynamical systems analysis to them is still relatively rare. For these reasons, a study was conducted on the dynamics and interrelationships of creativity, emotion, and psychopathology using state space grids (SSG) in 33 young adult participants assessed for autism spectrum and negative schizotypy traits, using a computerized Tower of Hanoi (ToH) creative problem-solving task. An overview of the dual importance of convergent and divergent thinking styles to creativity is provided as a context for the experiment. The hypothesis that participants with subclinical autism (AS) or negative symptom schizotypy (SZ) traits would obtain higher creativity scores, as defined by 1/(moves*min), than controls on the ToH tasks, even after statistically controlling for participants’ IQ and task experience was not supported. The hypothesis that AS/SZ individuals tend to stay in negative moods longer and more frequently than controls was also not supported. There is marginal support for the connection between type of college major (science vs. nonscience) and subclinical schizotypy traits with science majors tending to score higher on subclinical traits (t[106.32] = 1.63, p = .053). SSGs plotting frequency of move and emotion ratings of selected participants were analyzed for possible emotional attractors, repellors, and other dynamical characteristics.

Included in

Psychology Commons



© Copyright 2015 Lia Harrington