Cognitive abilities and creativity: The role of working memory and visual processing

Nurit Paz-Baruch, Rotem Maor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent studies have revealed the importance of cognitive abilities in creative thinking. However, most research addressed adults and only a few studies have examined the ways these correlations are manifested among young children. The present study explores the role of various cognitive abilities in creativity among school children. Measures of creativity, visual-spatial working memory (VSWM), verbal short-term memory (STM), working memory (WM), and visual processing (VP) were administered to 331 students in Grades 4 and 5. Cluster analysis was used to group students' creativity levels. A multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was conducted to test differences in cognitive abilities across the three clusters. Group differences between high and moderate level creativity students and low creativity students were found regarding VP abilities in the following tests: VSWM, visual discrimination (VD), and Raven's Colored Progressive Matrices (RCPM). Group differences between high creativity students and low creativity students were also found on verbal STM and WM. Additionally, structural equation modeling (SEM) analysis revealed that VP can significantly account for unique variances associated with creativity, while verbal STM and WM are not significantly related to creativity. These findings enlighten the cognitive processes underlying creativity in young children.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101294
JournalThinking Skills and Creativity
StatePublished - Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier Ltd


  • Cognitive abilities
  • Creativity
  • Visual processing
  • Working memory


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