Directed brainstorming and the Cognitive Network Model of Creativity: An empirical investigation of cognitive factors related to the formation of creative solutions using an electronic brainstorming environment
AuthorSantanen, Eric Lawrence
AdvisorNunamaker, Jay F., Jr.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis dissertation presents the Cognitive Network Model of Creativity. This causal model posits that creative solutions occur when new associations are formed between disparate elements from memory. The likelihood of forming new associations is a positive function of the disparity between these elements and an inverse function of the problem solver's cognitive load. Cognitive load is, in turn, a positive function of the disparity between elements and the quantity of stimuli per unit of time to which the problem solver is exposed. Cognitive load is also an inverse function of the extent to which elements may be combined. The disparity between elements is a positive function of stimuli diversity, while the extent to which elements may be combined is an inverse function of stimuli diversity. Thus, the Cognitive Network Model of creativity represents a highly plausible answer to the research question: "What is a basic cognitive mechanism responsible for producing creative solutions to a problem?" that is grounded in group support systems, cognitive psychology, problem solving, and creativity research. Sixty one four-person groups participated in one of two experimental problem solving tasks designed to evaluate the model. The solution space for each task was partitioned into five smaller domains based upon known criteria for good solutions. Four directed brainstorming prompts were derived from each domain. These twenty prompts were then arranged to create three treatment conditions with respect to stimuli diversity (low, medium, and high). In each treatment, one directed brainstorming prompt was delivered to the electronic brainstorming supported groups every two minutes; groups in the control condition received no facilitation. Initial findings consistent with the model suggest that people using directed electronic brainstorming produce higher concentrations of creative solutions than people using free brainstorming because directed brainstorming focuses the efforts of the problem solvers on specific goals while simultaneously providing ready access to discontiguous areas of memory that help problem solvers avoid bounded, familiar, and narrow thought patterns. Findings show directed brainstorming advantages for low stimuli diversity, resulting in sharply focused creative solutions, and high stimuli diversity, resulting in broadly focused creative solutions. Medium diversity facilitation bestowed no benefit.
Degree ProgramGraduate College