Paul T. Sowden

Professor of Psychology, Creativity & Cognition,
University of Winchester, UK
Visiting Professor of Cognition & Creativity, University of Surrey, UK

Research Overview

I began my research career as a lab-based cognitive psychologist conducting research focused on visual perception, attention and categorisation. Starting in 2009, I began working on creativity, especially creative cognition and thinking processes, and over time this has become my research focus. I have mapped the relationship between dual process models of cognition and models of creative thinking and, most recently, I have been working on translating models of creative thinking into education settings to help educators and students develop creative competencies across the curriculum. Amongst other work, this has involved working with the OECD on Creativity and Critical Thinking and leading a three-year ‘Creativity Collaborative’, funded by Arts Council England, working with 16 schools to introduce teaching for creativity across the curriculum.

Selected Publications

Martin, C. PGR, Sowden, P. T., and Warren, F. (2022). Connected Creativity: The Impact of Web Search on Everyday Creative Thinking. European Psychologist, 27(3), 227-236.

Ratcliffe, E.PGR, Gatersleben, B. and Sowden, P. T. & Korpela, K. M. (2022). Understanding the perceived benefits of nature for creativity. Journal of Creative Behaviour, 56, 215-231.

Sowden, P. T. (2022). Rethinking assessment: putting psychology to work to build learners’ creativity. Psychology of Education Review, 46(1), 21-24.

Aznar, A., Sowden, P. T., Bayless, S., Ross, K., Warhurst, A., & Pachi, D. (2021). Home-schooling during COVID-19 lockdown: Effects of coping style, home space, and everyday creativity on stress and home-schooling outcomes. Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice, 10(4), 294-312.

Snyder, H. T., Sowden, P. T., Silvia, P. J., & Kaufman, J. C. (2021). The creative self: Do people distinguish creative self-perceptions, efficacy, and personal identity?”. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts, 15(4), 627-636.

Cogdell-Brooke, L.PGR, Sowden, P. T., Violante, I R., & Thompson, H. E. (2020). A Meta-Analysis of Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Studies of Divergent thinking using Activation Likelihood Estimation. Human Brain Mapping, 41, 5057-5077.

Kauer, A.PGR and Sowden, P. T. (2020). The role of attention in the development of creativity. In K. Cohen-Kadosh (Ed.) Handbook of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, Oxford University Press: Oxford, UK.

Sowden, P. T., Pringle, A. and Peacock, M. (2020). Verbal protocol analysis as a tool to understand the creative process. In V. Dörfler and M. Stierand (Ed’s) Handbook of Research Methods on Creativity, Edward Elgar Publishers: Cheltenham, UK.

Pringle, A.PGR & Sowden, P. T. (2017). Unearthing the Creative Thinking Process: Fresh Insights from a Think Aloud Study of Garden Design. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity & the Arts, 11, 344-358.

Pringle, A.PGR & Sowden, P. T. (2017). The Mode Shifting Index (MSI): A new measure of the creative thinking skill of shifting between associative and analytic thinking. Thinking Skills and Creativity, 23, 17-28.

Sowden, P.T., Clements, L.UG, Redlich, C., & Lewis, C. (2015). Improvisation facilitates divergent thinking and creativity: Realising a benefit of primary school arts education. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts, 9, 128-138.

Sowden, P. T., Pringle, A.PGR, & Gabora, L. (2015). The Shifting Sands of Creative Thinking: Connections to Dual Process Theory. Thinking & Reasoning, 21, 40-60.