Presentation Title

The Effects of Ambiguity on Creativity: Comparative vs. Absolute

Advisor Information

Roni Reiter-Palmon

Location

Milo Bail Student Center Ballroom

Presentation Type

Poster

Start Date

8-3-2013 1:00 PM

End Date

8-3-2013 4:00 PM

Abstract

To gain a competitive advantage, companies rely on creative solutions when solving problems. The most creative solutions are those that are both original and of high quality (Amabile, 1983). Creative solutions stem from ambiguous and ill-defined problems. To expand, a well-defined problem is one in which there is a positively correct and attainable solution to the problem, whereas an ill-defined problem may have numerous solutions because of varying assumptions that conflict with each other (Kitchener, 1983). These challenges are a result of ambiguity or unknown information that differentiates well-defined from ill-defined problems. The instructions presented in a problem solving task can help to clarify some of this ambiguity by directing attention to certain aspects of the problem, allowing cues to become less ambiguous and more salient (Dinnel & Glover, 1985). Thus, instructions are essential for facilitating an individual’s ability to fulfill multiple objectives and produce creative solutions to an ill-defined problem. Previous research has found that some instructional ambiguity is useful in facilitating creative output (Runco, Illies, & Reiter -Palmon, 2005). Thus, the focus will be on the manipulation of instructional ambiguity (low vs. high) presented in a creative problem solving task. Previous thesis research was unable to establish a statistical difference between low vs. high levels of instructional ambiguity despite contrary indications in openended questions. However, current studies revealed that individuals were able to differentiate ambiguity in instructions in multiple dissertation pilot studies. Pilot study results and plans regarding effects on creative output for full dissertation will be discussed.

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Mar 8th, 1:00 PM Mar 8th, 4:00 PM

The Effects of Ambiguity on Creativity: Comparative vs. Absolute

Milo Bail Student Center Ballroom

To gain a competitive advantage, companies rely on creative solutions when solving problems. The most creative solutions are those that are both original and of high quality (Amabile, 1983). Creative solutions stem from ambiguous and ill-defined problems. To expand, a well-defined problem is one in which there is a positively correct and attainable solution to the problem, whereas an ill-defined problem may have numerous solutions because of varying assumptions that conflict with each other (Kitchener, 1983). These challenges are a result of ambiguity or unknown information that differentiates well-defined from ill-defined problems. The instructions presented in a problem solving task can help to clarify some of this ambiguity by directing attention to certain aspects of the problem, allowing cues to become less ambiguous and more salient (Dinnel & Glover, 1985). Thus, instructions are essential for facilitating an individual’s ability to fulfill multiple objectives and produce creative solutions to an ill-defined problem. Previous research has found that some instructional ambiguity is useful in facilitating creative output (Runco, Illies, & Reiter -Palmon, 2005). Thus, the focus will be on the manipulation of instructional ambiguity (low vs. high) presented in a creative problem solving task. Previous thesis research was unable to establish a statistical difference between low vs. high levels of instructional ambiguity despite contrary indications in openended questions. However, current studies revealed that individuals were able to differentiate ambiguity in instructions in multiple dissertation pilot studies. Pilot study results and plans regarding effects on creative output for full dissertation will be discussed.