Changing Perspective: Building Creative Mindsets

Cognitive Science 44 (4):e12820 (2020)
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The search for new ideas often frustratingly cycles back to old ones, a phenomenon known as fixation. Recent research has shown ways to kick‐start finding new uses for familiar objects, a prototypical creativity task: wandering in the mind or the world or working on a messy desk. Those techniques seem to succeed by helping break fixation, but do not guide the search for new ideas. The perspective‐taking or human‐centric or empathic mindset championed by many in HCI and in design firms does provide a search strategy. We compared the mind‐wandering mindset to a perspective‐taking mindset, the latter priming thinking of ways that people in different roles (gardener, artist, etc.) might use the objects. In two studies, the Perspective‐Taking mindset yielded more ideas and more original ideas than Mind‐Wandering, which did not differ from a No‐Mindset control. Original ideas came late, rewarding persistence. The perspective‐taking mindset is productive for problem‐solving, forecasting, and social interactions as well as innovation.



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Eplerian Philosophy for a New Way of Life.Gary R. Epler - 2021 - Open Journal of Philosophy 11 (1):171-177.

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The associative basis of the creative process.Sarnoff Mednick - 1962 - Psychological Review 69 (3):220-232.

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