How Cognitive Control, Autistic and Schizotypal Traits Shape Context Adaptation of Divergent Thinking

Julie Ramain, Christine Mohr, Ahmad Abu-Akel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Divergent thinking, the ability to generate multiple ideas from different perspectives, is considered a central component of the creative thinking process. While context, personality traits, and cognitive control abilities have individually been shown to have large effects on divergent thinking, their interrelationship is yet to be elucidated. In 83 healthy participants (Males = 42%), we investigated how context adaptation of divergent thinking is related to normal variations in autistic and positive schizotypal traits as well as to proactive and reactive cognitive control strategies. Context adaptation of divergent thinking—defined as the variance in the proportion of unique to total responses of a drawing divergent thinking task performed across four different contexts—was predicted by a 3-way interaction of autistic traits, positive schizotypal traits, and cognitive control. Specifically, increasing reactive control improved context adaptation when positive schizotypal traits were high and autistic traits were low, while increasing proactive control was associated with improved context adaptation when both autistic and positive schizotypal traits were high. Both modes of cognitive control can enhance the ability to generate unique ideas across contexts, but this depends on the individuals’ specific combinations of autistic and positive schizotypal trait levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)783-799
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Creative Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Creative Education Foundation(CEF)


  • autistic traits
  • context adaptation
  • creativity
  • proactive control
  • reactive control
  • schizotypy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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