I saw this link on Astral Codex Ten, Scott Alexander’s new blog, which I didn’t learn about until recently:
Fiiine, I’ll link to the creativity test that’s gone viral on Twitter recently. You choose ten words, and it grades you as more creative the more different all ten are from each other on some measure of semantic distance.
I love Scott Alexander’s long, thoughtful posts about stuff, but the linked post above is not one of those; it’s a collection of links to whatever he’s seen recently that caught his eye, including the creativity test that (I guess) has become popular on Twitter. I’m not doing a lot with social media at the moment, preferring to put my emotional energy toward other things such as writing, so I wasn’t aware of that.
The instructions for this test are: Please enter 10 words that are as different from each other as possible, in all meanings and uses of the words. They mean nouns, single words, no proper nouns, no technical jargon.
Naturally, I found a creativity test that is basically a vocabulary test just irresistible.
Here are my results:
Your score is 94.44, higher than 99.31% of the people who have completed this task
The average score is 78, and most people score between 74 and 82. The lowest score was 24 and the highest was 96 in our published sample. Although the scores can theoretically range from 0 to 200, in practice they range from around 6.2 to 109.6 after millions of responses.
I’m not sure why only the first seven of ten nouns are included in the analysis. My other three nouns were “bicycle,” “solitude,” and “follicle.” You’re not supposed to use specialized vocabulary, so I didn’t put in “ovoviviparity,” though I wanted to. I thought “follicle” was not too jargony. If I’d known that only the first seven nouns counted, I’d have replaced either “missile” or “pillow” with “follicle.”
Now, is a large vocabulary plus an ability to decide whether nouns are “not like each other” a measure of creativity? Is this a sound argument? Beats me. Could be, I guess, though I’d offhand guess that this is a correlated measure rather than a direct measure. I could argue it either way in theoretical terms. This test does include the caveat that it “measures only one aspect of one type of creativity,” which certainly makes it difficult to refute. Sure, it’s probably to some degree a measure of one aspect of one type of something we could call “creativity.”
Scott shows that just plugging in a random selection of nouns right out of a dictionary, in order, from apple to appeasement, will give you a pretty good score.
Anyway, if you enjoy vocabulary quizzes, and who doesn’t, here you go.