Date of Award

Winter 2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Director

Ivan Ash

Committee Member

Mahesh Gopinath

Committee Member

Elaine Justice

Committee Member

Miguel Padilla


Within literature there are two opposing views regarding the role of emotions in the creative process. The most commonly held view contends that positive emotions enhance creativity, while negative emotions stifle it; yet, some studies show an opposite trend. To help resolve this conundrum, this research examined the mediating effect of attention on the relationship between mood and creativity. The results showed that positive deactivating and negative activating emotions led to broader attention, while positive activating and negative deactivating emotions caused narrowing of attention. Furthermore, the creative process is not uniform in its requirements of attentional breadth; some creative tasks require broad and others narrow attention for their completion. When differential requirements for global versus local attentional focus at the differing stages of creativity were taken into consideration, the influence of emotions become more straightforward; different attentional breadth requirements corresponded to differential stages of creative performance.


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