Mental imagery and creativity: A meta-analytic review study


School of Social Science, Middlesex University, Queensway, Enfield EN3 4JF, UK (n.


The reports of many creative individuals suggest the use of mental imagery in scientific and artistic production. A variety of protocols have tested the association between mental imagery and creativity, but the individual differences approach has been most frequently employed. This approach is assessed here through a range of meta-analytic tests. Database searches revealed 18 papers employing the individual differences approach that were subjected to a conservative set of selection criteria. Nine studies (1,494 participants) were included in the final analyses. A marginal, but statistically significant, Fisher's Z-transformed correlation coefficient was revealed. Further analyses showed little difference between form and type of self-reported imagery and divergent thinking. Explanations for the failure to account for more than 3% of the variance in the data sets are discussed in the context of anecdotal reports, task validity, and design problems.