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Oppositional processes in divergent thinking

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In this study, the oppositional processes theory was proposed to suggest that reliance on semantic and episodic memory systems hinder originality during idea generation for divergent thinking tasks that are

In this study, the oppositional processes theory was proposed to suggest that reliance on semantic and episodic memory systems hinder originality during idea generation for divergent thinking tasks that are generally used to assess creative potential. In order to investigate the proposed oppositional processes theory, three experiments that manipulated the memory accessibility in participants during the alternative uses tasks were conducted. Experiment 1 directly instructed participants to either generate usages based on memory or not from memory; Experiment 2 provided participants with object cues that were either very common or very rare in daily life (i.e., bottle vs. canteen); Experiment 3 replicated the same manipulation from Experiment 2 with much longer generation time (10 minutes in Experiment 2 vs. 30 minutes in Experiment 3). The oppositional processes theory predicted that participants who had less access to direct and unaltered usages (i.e., told to not use memory, were given rare cues, or were outputting items later in the generation period) during the task would be more creative. Results generally supported the predictions in Experiments 1 and 2 where participants from conditions which limited their access to memory generated more novel usages that were considered more creative by independent coders. Such effects were less prominent in Experiment 3 with extended generation time but the trends remained the same.

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  • 2017