Divergent Association Task

The Divergent Association Task is a quick measure of verbal creativity and divergent thinking, the ability to generate diverse solutions to open-ended problems. The task involves thinking of 10 words that are as different from each other as possible. For example, the words cat and dog are similar, but the words cat and book are not. People who are more creative tend to generate words that have greater distances between them. It is done online and free to use. It was designed by researchers from Harvard, McGill, and University of Melbourne, and has been validated on around 9,000 participants from 98 countries across the world.

Constructs Being Measured
How to Access and Cite

To access the resource, visit https://www.datcreativity.com/task.

Outcome Families
Programmatic Purpose
Classroom-level data and feedback
Program-level monitoring and evaluation
Instrument Characteristics
Type of items: 

10 single-word answers

Cognitive Assessment (written)
Applicable Grade Levels
Supporting Research

Olson, J. A., Nahas, J., Chmoulevitch, D., Cropper, S. J., & Webb, M. E. (2021). Naming unrelated words predicts creativity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 118(25).


The task is correlated with other measures of divergent thinking and creativity. People who score higher on the task tend to be able to:
-- think of novel and more varied uses for common objects (Alternative Uses Task)
-- find associations between related words (e.g., giraffe and scarf; Bridge-the-Associative-Gap Task)
-- solve more insight and analytical problems

Most people complete the task in under two minutes and the scoring is automatic, making it ideal for large samples.

Points to Consider

For more guidance on measuring student learning and best practices in adapting measurement tools to your contexts, check out the Portal page on Monitoring and Evaluation. You can also contact Alvin Vista (Knowledge Lead, Student Outcomes) and Robbie Dean (Director of Research) for specific questions.