Functional Fixedness in Creative Thinking Tasks Depends on Stimulus Modality
Chrysikou, Evangelia G.
Thompson-Schill, Sharon L.
American Psychological Association
Scholarly/refereed, author accepted manuscript
Copyright American Psychological Association
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Pictorial examples during creative thinking tasks can lead participants to fixate on these examples and reproduce their elements even when yielding suboptimal creative products. Semantic memory research may illuminate the cognitive processes underlying this effect. Here, we examined whether pictures and words differentially influence access to semantic knowledge for object concepts depending on whether the task is close- or open-ended. Participants viewed either names or pictures of everyday objects, or a combination of the two, and generated common, secondary, or ad hoc uses for them. Stimulus modality effects were assessed quantitatively through reaction times and qualitatively through a novel coding system, which classifies creative output on a continuum from top-down-driven to bottom-up-driven responses. Both analyses revealed differences across tasks. Importantly, for ad hoc uses, participants exposed to pictures generated more top-down-driven responses than those exposed to object names. These findings have implications for accounts of functional fixedness in creative thinking, as well as theories of semantic memory for object concepts.
This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record.
Chrysikou, Evangelia G. et al. “Functional Fixedness in Creative Thinking Tasks Depends on Stimulus Modality.” Psychology of aesthetics, creativity, and the arts 10.4 (2016): 425–435.
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