Chapter 9. When individual differences come into play
This paper investigates the connections between an individual variable, creativity, and performance on oral narrative tasks with different levels of cognitive complexity. Participants of the study were 41 Hungarian first-year English major university students whose creativity was measured with the help of a standardised test. They performed two oral narrative tasks: a cognitively less complex one where the story was given and a cognitively more complex one where they had to invent the story themselves. The task performance measures employed were accuracy, syntactic complexity, lexical variety, fluency, quantity of talk, and narrative structure. Findings of the study indicated that increasing cognitive complexity resulted in greater accuracy, less fluent performance, and less lexical variety in the case of the more complex task. Besides studying the effect of varying cognitive complexity, the relationships between three aspects of creativity, creative fluency, relative flexibility, and average originality, and the above described measures of task performance were also examined. Findings suggested that the role of creativity was different in the case of the less and more complex task, and that performance on the more complex task was affected more by this individual variable.