Previous research indicates that episodic retrieval contributes to divergent creative thinking. However, this research has relied on standard laboratory tests of divergent creative thinking, such as generating creative uses for objects; it is unknown whether episodic retrieval also contributes to domain-specific forms of creativity. Here we start to explore whether episodic retrieval contributes to content generation on one such domain-specific task: creative writing. In two experiments, we use an episodic specificity induction (ESI) that selectively impacts tasks that draw on episodic retrieval. If episodic retrieval contributes to content generation during creative writing, then ESI should selectively increase the number of episodic details that people subsequently generate on a creative writing task. In our first experiment, we found evidence that ESI increased the number of episodic details participants generated. We observed a similar, though non-significant, trend in the second experiment. These findings constitute a starting point for examining the contribution of episodic retrieval to creative writing, but additional studies will be needed to more definitively characterize the nature and extent of these contributions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Visual Arts and Performing Arts
- Psychology (miscellaneous)