Ideational productivity, focus of attention, and context

PA Howard-Jones, S Murray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)


A series of 4 experiments were conducted to investigate ideational productivity. Experiments 1, 2, and 3 were carried out under controlled conditions and involved a test of ideational productivity based on producing different interpretations of a diagram. In the first experiment, the pattern of ideational productivity of adult volunteer participants was studied over 30 min of thinking time. Experiment 2 investigated whether, as predicted by Mednick (1962), a negative correlation exists between the rate of change of productivity and the overall productivity of adult participants. Results confirmed a significant correlation, providing further support for the connectionist model of creativity put forward by Martindale (1995). Experiment 3 measured the effect of a strategy that encouraged adult volunteers to defocus their thinking before attempting to find another new interpretation of the diagram. On returning to the problem, the average time taken to produce a new interpretation was significantly reduced. These results are discussed in terms of Martindale's connectionist model and the role of context. Based on these findings, an instructional strategy was devised that might support the ideational productivity of children. In Experiment 4, the effectiveness of such a strategy was investigated within the classroom environment for children aged 8 to 10 years, and was shown to be effective in raising their ideational productivity.
Translated title of the contributionIdeational productivity, focus of attention, and context
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153 - 166
Number of pages14
JournalCreativity Research Journal
Volume15 (2-3)
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2003

Bibliographical note

Publisher: Lawrence Erlbaum


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