The Effects of Environmental Scene and Body Posture on Embodied Strategies in Creative Thinking

Matthew Sargent, Alex LePage, Yoed N. Kenett, Heath E. Matheson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Accounts of embodied cognition suggest that environmental scene and motor information can be used in a type of neural simulation when generating creative uses for manipulable objects. A scarce amount of studies suggests that the state of the body and environment play a role in people’s ability to devise creative uses for objects. In this theoretically motivated study, we manipulated the environmental context and adopted a previously used body posture manipulation, while participants performed the alternative uses task (AUT) under general instructions or instructions to describe actions toward or away from the body. We show that the environment and body posture interact to shape performance on the AUT. Specifically, body posture facilitates fluent responding under high fixedness environmental contexts. In addition, describing actions away from the body results in more original AUT responses. Further, we replicate previous findings that higher-creative individuals use different “embodied strategies” than less-creative individuals when generating creative uses for objects. We propose that higher-creative individuals differentially access and navigate an abstract “action space” necessary for simulating creative uses of objects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)614-628
Number of pages15
JournalCreativity Research Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes

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