Date of Award

Fall 2019

Document Type

Thesis Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chairperson

V. Krishna Kumar, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Geeta Shivde, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Laura Verrekia, Ph.D.


This study examined whether or not stress, created by a combination of time and social-evaluative pressure, negatively impacted creativity measured by the fluency of ideas and rated creativity of ad taglines in response to four selected objects (2 common & 2 uncommon). In the high-stress condition, stress was induced by imposing a 5-minute time limit and self-monitoring by an hourglass timer and by informing the participants that their responses will be evaluated for interestingness and quality by the researchers. In the low-stress condition, participants were asked to have fun generating ad taglines and did not see the hourglass. The effectiveness of manipulating stress was assessed by examining differences between the low and high-stress conditions on positive and negative affect, anxiety, and task engagement.

Participants (n =132) were randomly assigned to the high- and low-stress conditions. Two blind raters judged the creativity of ad taglines and their averaged scores for each object were derived for each participant for analysis. Contrary to expectations, stress positively impacted judged creativity with the high-stress group scoring higher than the low-stress group, an outcome difficult to explain in view of the result that the high and the low-stress conditions did not differ on variables used to assess if stress induction was successful. The two stress conditions did not differ on the average fluency score. Females were judged to be more creative than males. Participants generated more taglines but fewer creative ones to the two common objects; the reverse was true for the two less common objects.