Unconscious thought theory (UTT) suggests that creativity benefits more from unconscious thought than conscious thought. However, previous studies have only focused on creative problem solving. This study aims to explore the effect of unconscious thought and conscious thought in creative science problem finding (CSPF). The ability of CSPF was measured by fluency, flexibility and originality. Participants accomplished the CSPF task after 3 min of distraction, during which unconscious thought was supposed to take place, or after 3 min of conscious thought. Results showed that unconscious thought had no advantage over conscious thought on CSPF. For the CSPF task with open instructions, conscious thought was comparable to unconscious thought in fluency, flexibility and originality. What’s more, for the CSPF task with closed instructions, unconscious thought was even overtaken by conscious thought in fluency, flexibility and originality. These findings extend the unconscious thought theory and provide practical guidance on how to propose a creative science problem.

Unconscious thought, Conscious thought, Creativity, CSPF
dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.concog.2019.03.010, hdl.handle.net/1765/126813
Consciousness and Cognition
Department of Public Administration and Sociology (DPAS)

Ding, R., Han, Q, Li, R., Li, T, Cui, Y., & Wu, P. (2019). Unconscious versus conscious thought in creative science problem finding: Unconscious thought showed no advantage!. Consciousness and Cognition, 71, 109–113. doi:10.1016/j.concog.2019.03.010