Self-perceptions of creativity do not always reflect actual creative performance

Jean E. Pretz, Elizabethtown College
Victoria A. McCollum, Elizabethtown College


Creative metacognition is the ability to know one's creative abilities and recognize when to apply them (Kaufman & Beghetto, in press). Do our self-perceptions reflect our actual creative abilities? Past research has addressed aspects of metacognition by measuring self-reports of creative ability, selfperceptions of creative ability, and creative self-efficacy. Silvia, Wigert, Reiter-Palmon, and Kaufman (2012) argued that self-reported creativity is more reliable and valid than most researchers acknowledge. However, evidence is mixed. Researchers' use of diverse measures of self-perceptions and multiple measures of creativity poses a challenge to drawing any firm conclusions about the accuracy of creative metacognition. We aimed to disentangle these mixed findings to understand the relationship between self-perceptions of creativity and actual creative performance. Ninety 4th-year undergraduate students completed measures of divergent thinking, wrote photo captions and creative essays, and rated their creativity in all of these tasks. Global creative self-efficacy and self-reported past creative achievement were also measured. Results showed that performance on creativity tasks was correlated with selfperceived creativity on those specific tasks, but was unrelated to global assessments of creative self-efficacy. In contrast, global creative self-efficacy was related to past creative achievement. Yet global creative self-efficacy was no better at predicting past achievement than personality variables. Self-perceptions of creativity on specific tasks were better predictors of creative performance than personality. We conclude that creative metacognition is based more strongly on personality than performance unless we ask participants to report their specific self-perceptions based on performance of specific tasks. Implications for future work on creative metacognition are discussed. © 2014 American Psychological Association.