Theses Doctoral

The Causal Map: Enhancing Creativity by Supporting the Construction of Alternate Problem Representations

Yang, Yun

This dissertation proposes the Causal Map technique, a systematic method to support the production of creative solutions using verbal cause-and-effect prompts and an external visual representation of the derived causal chain. An empirical study is described that compares performance of the Causal Map technique in prompting the production of creative solutions to a real-world problem to two other problem-solving scaffolds: individual Brainstorming and the Five Whys technique. Participants using the Causal Map technique were found to produce, on average, more than twice the number of solutions compared to participants using the individual Brainstorming or Five Whys techniques.

Participant solutions were rated on the evaluative dimensions of Creativity, Originality, Effectiveness, and Feasibility. On each of these dimensions, the mean rating for the three highest rated solutions produced by each participant was compared across conditions. On all dimensions, the mean ratings of the top three solutions produced using the Causal Map technique were nominally higher than the means for the other conditions. These differences were significant between the Causal Map and Five Whys on all dimensions, and significant between the Causal Map and Brainstorming in effectiveness.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Cognitive Studies in Education
Thesis Advisors
Corter, James E.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
October 5, 2022