The Role of Originality in Retrieval from Long-Term Memory: Relations Between Fluency, Originality, Working Memory Capacity, and Crystallized Intelligence
To better understand the cognitive processes necessary for successful verbal fluency (a measure of retrieval from long-term memory) performance and why individuals differ in performance, the present study (n = 148) examined relations between fluency, originality, corrected fluency, working memory capacity, and crystallized intelligence. Results demonstrated that fluency significantly and positively correlated with originality; however, many of the relations between fluency, originality, corrected fluency, working memory capacity, and crystallized intelligence varied across the different category fluency tasks (animals and supermarket items). Additionally, an examination of the output position (order) of recalled items indicated that original items tended to be emitted towards the end of the recall period. Recalling common items prior to unique items may serve as a strategy by which participants begin their search through long-term memory by focusing on the most easily accessible items before emitting less accessible items. Indeed, individuals who increasingly recalled common items before unique items tended to recall more items overall, but this finding also varied across the fluency tasks. Collectively, the results suggest that originality, working memory capacity, crystallized intelligence, and output position are all factors that should be taken into consideration when accounting for variation in verbal fluency performance.