|M.Sc Student||Gershoni Rotem|
|Subject||Exploration, Spatial Tasks and Creativity: The Effect of|
Different Search Environments on Creativity
|Department||Department of Industrial Engineering and Management||Supervisors||DR. Kinneret Tedorescu|
|PROFESSOR EMERITUS Miriam Erez|
|Full Thesis text|
In the field of creativity, there is a distinction between two types of creative thinking. The first type of thinking is divergent thinking, in which individuals generate as many ideas and solutions as possible to a problem. The second way of thinking is convergent thinking and it refers to a focused thinking process, which aims to converge towards one correct solution on a rational basis.
In addition, in the literature of exploration and spatial search, there is a distinction between two different search environments, which are distinct from each other by the way the target resources are distributed in their search space. In a clumpy search environment, the resources are organized in clusters, whereas in a diffused search environment, the resources are diffused throughout the search environment.
The current study integrates these two lines of research and aims to examine whether the search process in a diffuse environment contributes to a higher level of creative thinking in comparison to searching in a clumpy environment. To do so, we created a spatial task based on that designed by Hills, Todd, and Goldstone (2008). In the current study, we also created two search environments, a diffuse environment and a clumpy environment. First, we tested the two search environments' effect on individuals' exploration patterns, and indeed we found that participants search differently in the different search environments. We further examined whether the search behavior serves as a priming effect that influences the three creativity measurements (fluency, flexibility, and originality).
The results show no significant differences in creativity between the groups. A post-hoc analysis revealed a marginally significant difference in flexibility improvements, but only for the repeated creativity task and only after further exclusion of participants with low fluency. We explain this weak effect by the high correlations between participants' performance in the creative task before the manipulation, which reflects their basic creative ability, and after the manipulation. Moreover, according to the results, participants in the diffuse condition felt more cognitively exhausted than participants in the clumpy condition, which could have canceled out the assumed enhancing effect. In future research, it could be beneficial to control individuals' cognitive exhaustion levels and strengthen the manipulation to overcome high individual differences.