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CREATIVE SYNTHESIS David Pearson Room T10, William Guild Building

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Presentation on theme: "CREATIVE SYNTHESIS David Pearson Room T10, William Guild Building"— Presentation transcript:

1 CREATIVE SYNTHESIS David Pearson Room T10, William Guild Building

2 Creative synthesis task suggests that people can recognise emergent properties that result from the mental transformation of images. However, only requirement of these emergent patterns is that they depict a recognisable object. Less clear whether these findings can be generalised to the use of imagery in more practical design-oriented settings.

3 Creative invention task (Finke, 1990) is a modification of the original creative visual synthesis task (Finke & Slayton, 1988). Participants are verbally presented with the names of three component parts randomly selected from a stimuli set of 15. Within two minutes must attempt to mentally combine the components into a practical object or device. Participants productions had to be interpreted within one of eight object categories. Creative Invention


5 CATEGORYEXAMPLES FurnitureChairs, tables Personal ItemsJewellery, glasses TransportationCars, boats Scientific Instruments Measuring devices, telescopes AppliancesFridge, cooker Tools & UtensilsScrewdriver, spoon WeaponsGuns, knives Toys & GamesBaseball bat, dolls

6 cylinder, wire, cube Tension Wind Vane (Scientific Instrument)

7 All productions were rated by independent judges for practicality and originality on five-point scales. An object with an average practicality rating of at least 4.5 was classified as a practical invention. A practical invention with an average originality rating of at least 4.0 was further classified as a creative invention. First experiment examined the effect on performance of varying the constraints under which people had to try and produce creative inventions.

8 There were three conditions: Condition 1: object category was randomly selected, but participant was able to select the three components to combine together. e.g. transportation Condition 2: component parts were randomly selected, but participant was able to select the object category. e.g. sphere, hook, wheels Condition 3: both object category and component parts were randomly selected. e.g. transportation + sphere, hook, wheels

9 Category Random, Parts Chosen Parts Random, Category Chosen Category & Parts Random Practical Inventions 54%53%49% Creative Inventions 5%9%14%

10 Results indicate that the more highly constrained the task demands, the greater the proportion of creative inventions produced. Appears counter-intuitive, but does parallel some observations of creative thinking in real world, i.e. -product constraints in design -scientific theories constrained by need to account for empirical data -effect of constraints on artistic creativity

11 Sistine Chapel (1508-1512)

12 Picassos Guernica (1937)

13 Beethoven and Deafness

14 DO ALL FORMS OF TASK CONSTRAINT INCREASE THE PRODUCTION OF CREATIVE INVENTIONS? Finke carried out a second experiment in which either the type of object or its function were randomly assigned. Condition 1: component parts randomly selected for each trial, and within an object category a specific type of object was randomly selected; i.e., chair, or table etc. Condition 2: component parts randomly selected, and within an object category a specific function was randomly assigned; i.e., a piece of furniture a handicapped person could use, or a weapon that uses light.

15 Type Random, Parts Random Function Random, Parts Random Practical Inventions 21%29% Creative Inventions 6%14%

16 Specifying a random type of object rather than random function severely limits the number of creative inventions produced. Features contained in basic object types are very specialised (Rosch et al., 1976). E.g., a chair must allow you to sit on it. May not be possible to include all of these features when components are specified at random. Random functions allow a greater variety of possible features and object types to be considered.

17 Preinventive Forms Novel and ambiguous forms may be more likely to contain unexpected emergent properties than forms created with specific object categories or functions in mind. An experiment was carried out to test this hypothesis: Stage 1: participants are given one minute to mentally synthesise a preinventive form from three randomly selected components.


19 Stage 2: participants randomly presented with one of the eight basic object categories, and have one minute to interpret their preinventive form as a practical object or device within that category. Preinventive form condition contrasted with two other conditions; one in which participants chose the object category, another in which it was randomly selected. In both cases the object category was defined prior to mental synthesis taking place. Finke added a highly creative classification, which was for those objects which achieved maximum scores on both practicality and originality scales.

20 cone, half-sphere, tube

21 Contact Lens Remover

22 Category Chosen Category random Preinventive Form Practical Inventions 53%49%34% Creative Inventions 9%14%18% Highly Creative 3%4%7%

23 Results showed that participants produced a greater proportion of creative and highly creative inventions when they decided the basic form of object prior to knowing what function it was expected to perform. Inventions displayed an Illusion of Intentionality -Form perceived as being constructed specifically for the function it performs.


25 These results runs counter to the accepted maxim that form follows function Finke suggests a reversal of this, in which creativity is enhanced by establishing a basic preinventive form prior to the specification of function; i.e., function follows form.

26 Sydney Opera House Designed by Danish architect Jorn Utzon

27 Form in Architectural Design American architect Frank Lloyd Wright was originator of concept of organic architecture. Felt design of buildings should be inspired by pre-existing forms in nature.

28 Emerald-Shapery Centre

29 Creative Synthesis Finke regards insight as the basis of creative thought. 1.Convergent – a set of data is unified into a new pattern or structure. 2.Divergent – new uses are found for an existing pattern or structure. Finke argues divergent insight produces the most creative thought.

30 Geneplore Model of Creativity (Finke, 1990)

31 Model consists of two distinct processing components; a generative phase, followed by an exploratory phase. Generative phase consists of construction of preinventive forms. In exploratory phase individual tries to interpret these preinventive forms in meaningful ways. Creative thinking initiates a geneplore cycle in which preinventive forms are continually generated, regenerated, and modified.

32 Geneplore Model of Creativity (Finke, 1990)

33 Number of cycles determined by desired extent of conceptual refinement or expansion of finished product. Both generative and exploratory phases can be affected by product constraints. These can include constraints on product type as well as product function. Restrictions on product category may benefit creative thinking, while similar restrictions on product type may constrain it.

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