Conceptual combination: Alternative knowledge structures, alternative heuristics

Ginamarie M. Scott, Devin C. Lonergan, Michael D. Mumford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

125 Scopus citations

Abstract

Prior research points to the importance of conceptual combination in creative thought. One way people might generate new combinations is through feature search and mapping - an analogical approach. Another way people might generate new combinations is through the integration and elaboration of event models - a case-based approach. To contrast these two approaches, 190 undergraduates were asked to review material describing multiple educational programs and devise a new high school curriculum using heuristics applying to 1 of these 2 approaches. The programs presented were varied with respect to the number of prior programs presented, their similarity, and divergence from current educational practices. It was found that effective use of appropriate heuristics was related to the quality, originality, and elegance of obtained solutions. Use of heuristics associated with an analogical approach led to better performance when a larger number of prior programs was presented. Use of heuristics associated with a case-based approach led to better performance when a smaller number of prior programs was presented. Implications for the use of these 2 alternative approaches in creative thought are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-98
Number of pages20
JournalCreativity Research Journal
Volume17
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2 2005

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)

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