Judging Popular Novels as Creative Products: Which Creative Attributes Contribute to their Success?

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Abstract

The purpose of the present study was threefold. First, to explore whether a German version of the Creative Product Semantic Scale can be applied to novels, a hitherto poorly investigated creative product. Second, to determine which of the emerging attributes might affect the potential for success of a novel. Third, to check whether the novels judged are distinguishable in terms of their creative attributes. In an online study, participants judged four popular novels from recollection: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, The Hobbit, Twilight, and Inkheart. A factor analysis of items based on the Harry Potter subsample indicated four major dimensions: Resolution, Novelty, Style and Complexity. Among the dimensions, Resolution was the only dimension predicting potential for commercial success in a multiple regression. Novels were not distinguishable on the basis of the dimensions judged, indicating that the present CPSS did not have enough discriminatory power to detect differences among novels from the same genre. Additional measures indicated judgments had been relatively stable since the reading experience. Furthermore, a large proportion of participants was presumably biased in their memory, due to having watched the respective movie adaptation. This was suggested by a false memory check. Surprisingly however, there were no detectable differences in judgment between those who passed and those who failed the false memory check.

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