The Effects of Google Affect Manipulation and Information Exposure on Divergent Thinking

This study examined how affective states and exposure to diverse information influence figural divergent thinking using a pretest-posttest design. A total of 148 participants were divided into 4 conditions: positive affect, negative affect, information, and control. In the positive and negative affect conditions, participants respectively listened to the elation and depression statements of the Velten procedure. In the information condition, participants listened to the neutral statements of the Velten procedure. In the control condition, participants listened to word-processing instructions. Divergent thinking was measured using the figural form of the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking (TTCT), and affect was measured using a mood questionnaire and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. Multivariate analyses of covariance were conducted using the TTCT, mood, and state-trait anxiety premeasures as covariates; the TTCT, mood, and state-trait anxiety postmeasures as the dependent variables; and treatment condition as the independent variable. Results showed a significant effect of condition on posttreatment TTCT scores, F(3, 140) = 3.37, p = .0203; mood, F(3, 140) = 7.44, p = .0001; and state anxiety, F(3, 140) = 6.27, p = .0005. Comparison tests showed that the information exposure treatment resulted in significantly higher TTCT scores than the control condition, indicating that exposure to diverse information can enhance divergent thinking. Results further indicated that, although the positive affect manipulation was effective in enhancing mood and reducing state anxiety, it did not enhance divergent thinking scores. The negative affect manipulation did not appear to be effective. Possible explanations for these results are discussed.