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Well-defined problem-solving may not be ‘creativity-enhancer’ for adults

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Washington DC, Aug 13 (ANI): A new study reveals when adults are given a set of Legos to solve a well-defined problem, their creativity might suffer when tackling subsequent tasks.

C. Page Moreau of the University of Wisconsin said that there were a lot of studies that explored what enhances creativity, adding that theirs is one of the few that considered ways in which creativity may be undermined.

In the study, the researchers conducted a test in which they gave participants Legos and a set of instructions. Some of the participants were given a ‘well-defined problem,’ instructions to build a particular thing by following explicit, step-by-step instructions.

The others were given an ‘ill-defined problem”‘ they were simply asked ‘to build something.’ After building with the Legos, the participants were then asked to complete a second well-defined or ill-defined task.

According to the authors, solving well-defined problems can diminish performance on subsequent creative tasks.

The decline in performance was largely due to having, in the well-defined problem, a specific goal to meet, additionally, engaging with a well-defined problem increases the chances that a person will choose another well-defined problem to solve next.

Moreau said that well-defined problems were becoming ever more common.

He said that managers and policymakers should become more aware of the way in which things like routine tasks could make an employee ill-suited for creative work and how standardised testing, by encouraging the use of well- defined problems, can hamper imaginative thinking.

The study is published in the journal of Marketing Research. (ANI)