William Orwig, Emma R. Edenbaum, Joshua D. Greene, Daniel L. Schacter

The Language of Creativity: Evidence from Humans and Large Language Models

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

ABSTRACTRecent developments in computerized scoring via semantic distance have provided automated assessments of verbal creativity. Here, we extend past work, applying computational linguistic approaches to characterize salient features of creative text. We hypothesize that, in addition to semantic diversity, the degree to which a story includes perceptual details, thus transporting the reader to another time and place, would be predictive of creativity. Additionally, we explore the use of generative language models to supplement human data collection and examine the extent to which machine‐generated stories can mimic human creativity. We collect 600 short stories from human participants and GPT‐3, subsequently randomized and assessed on their creative quality. Results indicate that the presence of perceptual details, in conjunction with semantic diversity, is highly predictive of creativity. These results were replicated in an independent sample of stories (n = 120) generated by GPT‐4. We do not observe a significant difference between human and AI‐generated stories in terms of creativity ratings, and we also observe positive correlations between human and AI assessments of creativity. Implications and future directions are discussed.

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