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Alignment of Research on CREATIVE COGNITION Across Levels of Complexity and Ecological Validity Steven M. Smith Texas A& PowerPoint Presentation
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Alignment of Research on CREATIVE COGNITION Across Levels of Complexity and Ecological Validity Steven M. Smith Texas A&M University NSF Workshop on the Science of Discovery and Innovation Washington, D.C., May 17-18, 2006. Topics of Today’s Presentation. Creativity Creativity & The Mind

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slide1

Alignment of Research on

CREATIVE COGNITION

Across Levels of Complexity and Ecological Validity

Steven M. Smith

Texas A&M University

NSF Workshop on the Science of Discovery and Innovation

Washington, D.C., May 17-18, 2006

slide2

Topics of Today’s Presentation

Creativity

Creativity & The Mind

Research in Creative Cognition

Current State of Knowledge

Next Big Questions to Target

slide3

Definition: Creativity

Required Characteristics

Novelty

Practicality

Family Resemblance: Shared Characteristics

Ambiguity

Originality

Emergence

Meaningfulness

Insightfulness

Incongruity

Flexibility

Divergence

slide4

Levels of Creativity

Can research at these levels be aligned?

My research in Creative Cognition

creative cognition

Creative Cognition

1. Cognitive processes and structures underlie creative thinking.

2. Cognition is inherently creative.

creative cognition1

Creative Cognition

Concepts & Categories

Visualization

Memory

Problem Solving

Language

Cognitive processes & structures underlie creative thinking.

Cognition is inherently creative.

slide7

An analogy for research on creativity:

Creativity is like memory.

Creativity, like memory, can be studied scientifically.

The term simple memory includes a variety of cognitive structures and processes.

Likewise, the simple term creativity encompasses many different cognitive structures and processes.

slide8

There is no unitary "creative process;" the science of creative cognition deals with the complex interacting components of creative thinking, as is done in other areas of cognitive experimental science, such as memory, language, or decision-making.

slide9

Personality vs. Process/Mechanism Approach

Our approach to research should lead to a better understanding of how to improve or optimize creativity.

A personality approach is suited to identifying creative people, or assessing their creative talents.

A more useful approach focuses on the processes & mechanisms that lead to creativity.

The better we understand these processes & mechanisms, the more we will be able to improve them.

components of creative thinking

Components of Creative Thinking

Combination:

Synthesis, Emergence

Ideation:

Divergent Thinking, Remote Association

Imagination:

Visualization, Restructuring, Insight

Incremental Work:

Learning, Memory, Computation

Ineffable Processes:

Intuition, Incubation

Logic:

Analogy, Inference, Induction

example the hubble fix
Example: The Hubble Fix
  • Fixation
  • Incubation
  • Insight
  • Conceptual Combination
  • Analogy
  • Visualization

James Crocker

NASA Engineer

example the hubble fix1
Example: The Hubble Fix

Fixation

Incubation

Problem

Solved!

Problem

Insight

Visualization

Analogy

+

Conceptual Combination

slide13

Auguste Kekule

Benzene

James Crocker

Hubble Repair

Kary Mullis

PCR

Experimental Studies of Fixation, Incubation & Insight

Archimedes

Displacement Principle

Henri Pioncare

Fuschian Functions

Beethoven

Canon for piano

smith s research in creative cognition

Smith’s Research in Creative Cognition

Can these levels be aligned?

Blocked Memories

Fixation in Problem Solving

Conformity in Idea Generation

Design Fixation

Recovered Memories

Incubation in Problem Solving

Incubation in Design/Invention

cognitive blocks

Cognitive Blocks

R-1 Dominant Response

(Blocker)

Stimulus

R-2 Non-dominant Response

(Target)

implicit memory blocks analogy

Implicit Memory BlocksANALOGY

R-1 Dominant Response

(Blocker: ANALOGY)

A _ L _ _ G Y

R-2 Non-dominant Response

(Target: ???????)

slide17

Implicit Memory Blocking

BlockerFragment

ANALOGY A _ L _ _ G Y

BRIGADE B _ G _ A _ E

Target

ALLERGY

BAGGAGE

slide18

Implicit Memory Blocking

BlockerFragment

ANALOGY A _ L _ _ G Y

BRIGADE B _ G _ A _ E

COTTAGE C _ T A _ _ G

CHARTER C H A R _ T _

CLUSTER C _ U _ T R _

CRUMPET C U _ P _ _ T

DENSITY D _ _ N I T Y

FIXTURE F _ I _ U R E

HOLSTER H _ S T _ R _

TONIGHT T _ N G _ _ T

TRILOGY T R _ G _ _ Y

VOYAGER V O _ _ A G E

Target

ALLERGY

BAGGAGE

CATALOG

CHARITY

COUNTRY

CULPRIT

DIGNITY

FAILURE

HISTORY

TANGENT

TRAGEDY

VOLTAGE

From Smith & Tindell (1997)

conclusions

Conclusions

Blocks can be caused by implicit memory of inappropriate responses.

These implicit memory blocks are involuntary, and cannot be avoided.

Smith & Tindell (1997)

fixation in problem solving

Fixation in Problem Solving

R-1 Dominant Response

(Blocker: Fixated Response)

Problem

R-2 Non-dominant Response

(Target: Correct Solution)

stimuli from smith blankenship 19911

Remote Associates Test ProblemsBlockersSolutions

Stimuli from Smith & Blankenship (1991)

SALAD HEAD GOOSE lettuce

egg

BED DUSTER WEIGHT room

feather

APPLE HOUSE FAMILY green

tree

CAT SLEEP BOARD black

walk

WATER SKATE CUBE sugar

ice

ARM COAL STOP rest

pit

conclusion

Findings of Smith & Blankenship

Seeing misleading hints and inappropriate answers impeded problem solving.

Conclusion

Alignment of Memory & Problem Solving:Fixation in creative problem solving, like blocking or interference in memory, can be experimentally induced by the introduction of misleading hints and inappropriate answers.

From Smith & Blankenship (1989, 1991)

slide24

Idea Generation: Conceptual Extension

Imagine another planet similar to Earth…

…What sort of life forms evolve there?

conformity effects in creative idea generation

Conformity Effects in Creative Idea Generation

Creative Idea Generation Tasks

1. Create, sketch, and label the parts of new toys that you have never encountered before.

2. Create, sketch, and label the parts of new life forms that might evolve on a planet similar to Earth.

findings

Conformity (fixation) effects were experimentally induced by the introduction of examples.

Findings

Like implicit memory blocking, conformity (fixation) effects increased when blockers (examples) were deliberately remembered, but were not decreased by efforts to avoid examples.

Alignment Across Levels:

Conformity in creative ideation is similar to blocking in memory & problem solving.

fixation effects in creative engineering design

Fixation Effects in Creative Engineering Design

Creative Design Tasks

1. Create, sketch, and label the parts of a new measuring cup for blind people.

2. Create, sketch, and label the parts of a new inexpensive spill-proof coffee cup. Do not use drinking straws or mouthpieces.

results

Results

Seeing the example design greatly increased the number of designs that were:

Non-infinitely variable.

Lacking an overflow mechanism.

spill proof cup from jansson smith 1991

Spill-Proof Cup from Jansson & Smith (1991)

Create, sketch, and label the parts of a new inexpensive spill-proof coffee cup. Do not use drinking straws or mouthpieces.

results1

Results

Seeing the example design greatly increased the number of designs that:

Have a straw or mouthpiece.

Leak.

conclusions1

Conclusions

Fixation/blocking affects the creative conceptual design process.

Even explicitly identified negative features of examples could not be avoided.

Evidence of Alignment: Both college students and professional engineers experienced design fixation.

part 1 blocking in memory problem solving creative ideation

Part 1: Blocking in Memory, Problem Solving & Creative Ideation

Part 2: Recovery (Incubation) in Memory, Problem Solving & Creative Ideation.

resolving cognitive blocks

Resolving Cognitive Blocks

-Incubated Reminiscence Effects

-Incubation in Resolving TOT states

-Incubation in Creative Problem Solving

-Incubation in Conceptual Design

slide41

Incubation & the Resolution of Tip-Of-the-Tongue (TOT) States

Choi & Smith (2005)

Incubation Effect

conclusions of incubation studies

Conclusions of Incubation Studies

Incubation effects are observed if a break or delay occurs after initial fixation.

Forgetting blockers (misleading clues) corresponds with bigger incubation effects.

conclusions from creative cognition studies

Conclusions from Creative Cognition Studies

Creativity can be studied if it is broken down into components:

Processes (e.g., implicit retrieval)

Structures (e.g., conceptual combination)

Phenomena (e.g., fixation, incubation)

Alignment can, and must be examined across levels of complexity and levels of ecological validity.

slide46

Research on Discovery & Innovation

The current state of knowledge.

1. Personality characteristics of creative people. (a lot!)

2. How individuals (case studies, anecdotes) innovate. (a lot!)

3. Cognitive components of creative thinking. (some)

4. Group dynamics and creative thinking. (some)

slide47

Research on Discovery & Innovation

  • The next big questions funding should target.
  • Principles of Creative Discovery & Innovation.
    • Across domains & levels of complexity
  • 2. Mechanisms of Creative Discovery & Innovation.
  • Within domains & levels of complexity
  • 3. Methods of Creative Discovery & Innovation.
  • Within domains
  • Individuals and groups
  • 4. Tools to Augment & Support Creative Discovery & Innovation.
  • Information Technologies
slide48

Research on Discovery & Innovation

  • The next big questions funding should target.
  • Principles of Creative Discovery & Innovation.
    • Across domains & levels of complexity
  • Examples
  • Quantity begets quality (Darwinian Approach).
  • Combinations & remote associations yield emergence.
  • Avoid premature conceptualization.
  • Stand on the shoulders of giants.
  • Don’t get stuck in a rut.
slide49

Research on Discovery & Innovation

The next big questions funding should target.

2. Mechanisms of Creative Discovery & Innovation.

Within domains & levels of complexity

Examples

Diversity of team members (group)

Defocused attention (cognitive)

Cross activation among brain regions (biological)

slide50

Research on Discovery & Innovation

The next big questions funding should target.

3. Methods of Creative Discovery & Innovation.

Within domains

Individuals and groups

Examples

Brainstorming

Morphological synthesis

C-Sketch

slide51

Research on Discovery & Innovation

The next big questions funding should target.

4. Tools to Augment & Support Creative Discovery & Innovation.

Information Technologies

Examples

Electronic brainstorming

combinFormation

IdeaGen

slide53

Our approach to research should lead to a better understanding of how to improve or optimize creativity.

Questions and Paradoxes of Creativity

Is creativity special or normal?

Use vs. Reject Prior Knowledge?

Imagination vs. Practicality?

Why can you do something creative only when you stop trying?

Domain Specific vs. General Principles?