My research project
Do leaky attention and high executive function predict creative achievement in children as they do in adults?
Research into creative achievement has looked at the role of diffuse early attention; i.e. leaky sensory gating that allows seemingly irrelevant information to be noticed. This is believed to enhance creativity by keeping the mind open to a wider range of possibilities, enabling the generation of more original ideas. However, creative individuals also need strong executive function to manage this greater flow of information. To date, there has been no study of whether this combination also manifests in children, and this is what I am investigating in my PhD.
Affiliations and memberships
I became interested in creativity as the result of first-hand involvement in the creative process during a career in the creative industries which included book publishing and television, I studied for my MSc in Psychology (Conversion) at Surrey where my dissertation focused on the relationship between divergent thinking and creativity as a function of creative achievement. I graduated with a Distinction and am now working on a PhD funded by a departmental studentship, exploring how attention relates to creativity in children as well as adults. I use behavioural methods including eye tracking and am also interested in the relationships between creativity and mind wandering, sleep, and sensory processing sensitivity.
I am a member of the Cognitive, Brain and Behaviour and Developmental Research Groups at Surrey.
I have taught as a graduate teaching assistant on several undergraduate modules, including The Psychology of Creativity (PSY3096), Cognitive Psychology with Research Methods (PSY1017) and the Introduction to Statistics and Data Analysis (PSY1020).
Kauer, A. R. and Sowden, P. T., (2020). The role of attention in the development of creativity. In K. Cohen-Kadosh (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Advance online publication. DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780198827474.013.15
Kauer, A. R., Sowden, P. T., Cohen Kadosh, K. & Winstone, N. (May 2018). Taking everything in: A new approach to leaky attention and creative achievement. Winner of the Conference Best Poster Prize at the 2018 UK Creativity Researchers' Conference, Canterbury, Kent, UK
Sowden, P.T., & Kauer, A.R. (August 2016) The relationship between divergent thinking and creativity as a function of creative achievement. Paper presented at the 2016 Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, Denver, Colorado, USA.