A bridge too far: conceptual distance and creative ideation

Hocking, I. and Vernon, D. (2017) A bridge too far: conceptual distance and creative ideation. Creativity: Theories, Research, Applications, 4 (2). pp. 333-352. ISSN 2354-0036.

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Previous research has shown changing perspectives to be important in problem finding, with viewpoint-based techniques like the 'six thinking hats' and the 'six honest serving men' im- proving performance (e.g. Vernon & Hocking, 2014). To date, however, evidence for similar techniques based on conceptu- ally 'near' and 'far' cues, where conceptual distance is defined topologically in a semantic space, has shown mixed results. In a sample of 171 participants, we used two standard verbal problem scenarios together with a novel technique comprising six concepts that were either conceptually near or far from the problem scenario.

Participants in the experimental group used the concepts when generating solutions; controls were given empty placeholders instead of concepts. Performance was measured for fluency, quality, originality and flexibility. Apart from flexibility, participants did worse when using con- cepts of either type in comparison to controls. For flexibility, a borderline boost for far concepts was observed (η2 = .03, p = .06). We conclude that the cognitive load overhead intro- duced by our concept-cueing technique, or any other similar technique that attempts to shape the creative process, needs to be minimised through a variety of methods before we can better determine its usefulness and, thus, the role of concep- tual distance in creative problem solving.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Open Access
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF0309 Consciousness. Cognition > BF0408 Creative ability
Divisions: Faculty of Social and Applied Sciences > School of Psychology, Politics and Sociology
Depositing User: Dr Ian Hocking
Date Deposited: 01 Feb 2018 10:38
Last Modified: 05 Feb 2018 13:31
URI: https://create.canterbury.ac.uk/id/eprint/16934

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Last edited: 29/06/2016 12:23:00