A timeout from research to respond to a relevant blog post.
George Siemens posted about studies from the PsyBlog relevant to my current research on creativity. The PsyBlog post ended with the recommendation to go it alone if creativity is important to you. I think this is counter productive. Many important outcomes require group work and diversity in groups can be an important source of creativity when it brings together different perspectives. Certainly one important factor encouraging creativity in groups are shared ideas and a paradigm based that supports creativity. The base of my thoughts are in the following comment made in response to George’s blog post.
Good discussion George and Ken;
It reminds me of Vygotsky’s lower and higher mental functions. What Ken describes sounds like a group manifestation of lower mental functions ( a level of thinking shared with animals). Valuing something like diversity may only occur if a higher mental function regulated this primal instinct for conformity.
I would not call this type of creativity destruction a problem with norms, but a problem of lower levels of responding. Something like diversity may require a higher level of function with ideas, paradigms and the sort, mediating the thinking, whether it is a group or an individual. Valuing diversity could be a norm too! Creativity may need to start with an individual, but for a group to participate, you may need relevant shared ideas to be present in the group. As a metaphor, think of shared ideas and artifacts like the neurotransmitters of the group.
In the study referenced by the PsyBlog, we don’t know what kinds of paradigms underly the groups thinking or of the study. Science in my view is a blend of theoretical and empirical. This study sounds like it over emphasized the empirical without a good theoretical understanding of creativity. Sort of like a hold over from behavioral experimental psychology that thought of the individual as a black box where you only measure the inputs and outputs. Measure group creativity, but keep their shared ideas and paradigm base as a variable in the equation.