Monday, August 23, 2021

Objective Measure of Creativity?

Scientists came out with a test to determine how creative you are! It's relatively easy and doesn't have to be administered by humans. "Our task measures only a sliver of one type of creativity," says psychologist Jay Olson, from Harvard University (who then defends the use of this tool). But, the article/project fails to reckon with a few things about this "useful determination".

1. Disability can prohibit access to language in a way that leaves one without a plethora of words (or proper spelling). Site's disclaimer/confirmation: "Like any verbal creativity measure, it partly measures creativity and partly measures verbal ability." The disability community simply isn't thought of (shock). I suppose crips are less "creative" by default! Does this task even bother to pass website accessibility for visually-impaired folks? Their FAQ page doesn't say.

2. The algorithm might value longer words, words of certain origins, or misinterpret altogether. They say the test excludes certain words to keep scores from artificial inflation because it's fairly easy to trick (something that might indicate the system isn't sound). They are also still working on testing it with other languages.

3. Lack of a proper education can factor in. Misspelling or lacking vocabulary aren't always the fault of "lazy" students. People who went to better schools or are more educated might have a better shot at this measure of "creativity". The inventors say the algorithm only takes seven out of ten words due to possible errors, but that statement still doesn't address educational limitations fully. It's a good thing several creativity tests are normally taken at once to get a bigger picture.

4. The task is supposed to be timed at four minutes... regardless of someone's anxiety. To be fair, that's a difficulty with any timed test, but it's still important to note anyone anxious when timed might not score as high.


I dislike when people think they can put a score on something so diverse. It's like a Buzzfeed quiz on which romance character you'd be. But, schools and companies utilize tools like these to decide who is worthy/gifted enough to be promoted, moved to "TAG programs", or given extra responsibilities. Just like personality tests, these measurements should be for personal insight only (and not taken as gospel). Anything else is asking for repeated errors and glaring fallacies that can put people in positions they aren't suited for or even actively hate. Not the most creative approach.

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