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Unearthing the creative thinking process: fresh insights from a think aloud study of garden design

Pringle, A and Sowden, Paul (2017) Unearthing the creative thinking process: fresh insights from a think aloud study of garden design Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity & the Arts, 11 (3). pp. 344-358.

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A number of theories of creativity have converged on the idea that creative thinking entails shifting between different processes. We attempt to build on recent theoretical developments through empirical work to examine creativity in the everyday environment of a garden designer. We asked designers with different levels of expertise, a matched group of fine artists and a non-designer, non-artist control group to work on a garden design. We asked them to ‘think aloud’ as they designed and we recorded audio and video. We coded resultant verbal segments as indicating the operation of different types of underlying thinking process identified in recent theoretical work. We then mapped these segments to the video of the designs and conducted Markov chain analysis to explore how thinking processes shifted as the design evolved. Finally, we examined the extent to which different types of thinking process shifts predicted the creativity of the final garden designs as determined by experts. We found that shifts between associative and analytic thinking processes predicted design creativity, but only when the operation of these two processes were tightly coupled in time. The positive association between shifting and creativity was strongest when analytic thinking processed affective content. These types of shifting were also elevated at times when a subset of participants switched between working on different designs; a strategy that positively predicted design creativity. Findings suggest expansion of mode shifting theories of creative thinking to include the importance of close coupling between different modes of thinking and of an analytic mode processing affective content.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences > School of Psychology
Authors :
Pringle, A
Date : 7 September 2017
DOI : 10.1037/aca0000144
Copyright Disclaimer : © American Psychological Association, 2017. This paper is not the copy of record and may not exactly replicate the authoritative document published in the APA journal. Please do not copy or cite without author's permission. The final article is available, upon publication, at:
Uncontrolled Keywords : : Mode Shifting, Creative Thinking, Design, Think-Aloud Method, Markov Chain Models
Depositing User : Melanie Hughes
Date Deposited : 07 Jun 2017 09:03
Last Modified : 16 Jan 2019 18:53

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