The effect of problem construction creativity on solution creativity across multiple everyday problems

Nicholas J. Arreola, Roni Reiter-Palmon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Research on creativity has indicated that problem construction, which is the process of making sense out of an ill-defined and ambiguous problem, has a positive influence on solution creativity. This relationship was more closely examined in a sample of university students using multiple everyday problems. Specifically, participants restated the problems in their own words and generated subsequent solutions. In addition, participants' fluency and problem construction ability were assessed. It was found that how participants constructed problems played an intervening role in the relationship between their overall problem construction ability and the creativity of the solutions they generated above and beyond fluency. This exact relationship, however, depended on the quality and originality of the problem constructions and solutions, as well as the problem. For 1 problem, a congruency effect was found such that problem construction quality predicted solution quality and problem construction originality predicted solution originality. For the other problem, only problem construction quality predicted both solution quality and originality. The results of this study provide evidence showing that problem construction is beneficial to solution creativity in everyday problems but that this relationship might be influenced by task.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-295
Number of pages9
JournalPsychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016


  • Creative cognition
  • Creativity
  • Everyday problems
  • Fluency
  • Problem construction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Applied Psychology


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