Epistemic emotions are important in the academic context (Pekrun & Linnenbrink-Garcia, 2012) as they have been proposed to facilitate exploration (Silvia, 2010), knowledge acquisition (Valdesolo, Shtulman, & Baron, 2017) and learning (e.g. D’Mello, Lehman, Pekrun, & Graesser, 2014). To our knowledge, no study has assessed the importance of epistemic emotions in the context of creativity. In this study, we hypothesize that epistemic emotions may also be particularly involved in creativity tasks, and that there may be different profiles of epistemic emotions in creativity tasks as compared to other tasks.
Ninety-five participants were recruited to take part to the experiment. Participants were presented with a creativity task (the 3-minutes Divergent Thinking Task, Beaty, Silvia, Nusbaum, Jauk, & Benedek, 2014) and two classical cognitive tasks (the Verbal Fluency task, Beaty et al., 2014, and the Raven Standard Progressive Matrices, Van der Elst et al., 2013). After each task, participants were requested to report the epistemic emotions they felt during each task using the short version of the Epistemically-Related Emotion Scale (Pekrun, Vogl, Muis, & Sinatra, 2017).
Analyses revealed that epistemic emotions were experienced in all three tasks and were on average particularly important in the creativity (F(2; 93) = 53.879). Notably, participants reported feeling curious and enthusiastic. Interestingly however, the profile of emotions were different between the tasks (F(12; 83) = 14.582): participants reported being more surprised during creativity task than during both cognitive tasks, but less enthusiastic and more bored than during the fluency task.
This study highlights that epistemic emotions are involved during creativity, highlighting the particular importance of curiosity, enthusiasm and surprise in this process. Future studies should assess how epistemic emotions may predict performance in creativity tasks.