About the task
The Divergent Association Task
is a quick measure of verbal creativity
and divergent thinking,
the ability to generate diverse solutions
to open-ended problems.
The task involves thinking of 10 words
that are as different from each other
cat and dog
but the words
cat and book
People who are more creative
tend to generate words that have greater distances between them.
These distances are inferred by examining
how often the words are used together in similar contexts.
this task measures only a sliver of the complex process of creativity.
See the frequently asked questions
for more details.
We have validated this task
on around 9,000 participants
from 98 countries across the world.
People who score higher on the task tend to be able to:
- think of novel and more varied uses for common objects (Alternative Uses Task)
- find associations between related words (e.g., giraffe and scarf; Bridge-the-Associative-Gap Task)
- solve more insight and analytical problems
Most people complete the task in under two minutes
and the scoring is automatic,
making it ideal for online tests and large samples.
For more information,
see our open-access manuscript
in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The task can be used in three ways:
- In online survey software such as Qualtrics or LimeSurvey,
by copying the task instructions
into the software.
- As a pencil-and-paper version (see task instructions as a
- From this website (for pilot or informal studies).
You can use the bare study page
which contains only the task instructions,
avoids auto-filling any fields,
and returns only the score.
You can then ask the participants to copy and paste the score
into your online survey.
Whether you use the main task or the bare study page,
appending a unique identifier to the URL
will allow us to find your data easier
if there are any issues.
You may also want to
let us know
when you are collecting data
so we do not perform any site maintenance at that time.
After you have collected data,
there are three ways to compute the DAT scores for a spreadsheet:
- Fastest: Upload the spreadsheet to have it automatically scored.
- Easiest: Email us the spreadsheet and we will score it.
- Manual: Score the data yourself using the open source task code.
For related online creativity tasks,
and Forward Flow.