A large body of research on creativity concerns a key question:What kinds of individual differences can be distinguished in creativity activities? As an elemental mental processing, attention can increases the likelihood that remote associates will be accessed and play an important role in mechanisms that allow for focused tests of solution appropriateness.
Thus, individual differences in creativity activities may root in the differentiation in attention manners of individuals. By experimental manipulation and psychometric assessment and using eye tracking techniques, the present study mainly studied the potential relations batween creativity and attention, the role and self-consistent characteristics of attention in solving creative problems. The results indicated that:
1. Participants with higher scores on the creative thinking scale also did better
performance on the defocused attention and focused regression analysis, it showed that the effects of defocused attention and focused attention on creativity were equal.
2. The intelligence of individuals could not mediate the relations between performance on a dichotic listening task and creativity. The openness in five factor personality tests was positively related to creativity，but this association might showed a fact that defocused attention played an important role in both relationship between openness and creativity.
3. In solving general problems and insight problems, participants' fixation patterns were different. In the initial and middle stages of problem solving, the fixations times on insight problems were longer than the ones on general questions;in the final stage, the fixation times on both types of problems were not significantly different. That is to say, solving insight problems require deploying more focused attention than solving general problems. The patterns of allocating attention in general and insight problem solving groups were similar in the initial stage, but not in the final stage.
4. In insight problem solving, successful and failed groups showed different fixation patterns. When the average fixation times in the successful group were distributed across the initial, middle and final stages, an inversed "V" shape could be plotted. In other words, the average fixation times became larger from the initial stage to the middle stage and became smaller again from the middle stage to the final stage. While in the failed group, the average fixation times became larger first from the initial stage to the middle stage and leveled off from the middle stage to the final stage. The fixation pattern data in the final stage suggested that defocused attention might be a key predictor to distinguish successful and failed groups in insight problem solving.
5. In solving insight problems, the average pupil diameter in Solving successful group is smaller than the average one in failed group. It suggested that successful group deployed more defocused attention group is resources which could be easily activated. There was no significant deference in the average pupil diameter when participants solved general questions and insight problems.