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

A Pringle, Paul T Sowden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

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.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)344-358
Number of pages15
JournalPsychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts
Volume11
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2017

Keywords

  • Mode Shifting
  • Markov Chain Models
  • Think-Aloud Method
  • Design
  • Creative Thinking
  • creativity
  • verbal protocol
  • creative process

Cite this

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Unearthing the creative thinking process: fresh insights from a think aloud study of garden design. / Pringle, A; Sowden, Paul T.

Vol. 11, No. 3, 01.09.2017, p. 344-358.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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