From sight to touch, the role of manipulating objects in developing individual and collective creativity

May 2023
Learning and Innovating
Communications avec actes dans un congrès international
Auteurs : Amandine Cimier (LaPEA), Beatrice Biancardi (LINEACT), Jérôme Guegan (LaPEA), Frédéric Segonds (LCPI), Fabrice Mantelet (LCPI), Camille Jean (LCPI), Stéphanie Buisine (LINEACT)
Conférence : European Association of Work and Organizational Psychology Conference, 23 May 2023

When an individual appropriates and uses an object he or she does so first with thevisual sense (Hatwell & Cazals, 1988). This 'visual capture' provides the availableinformation but can deprive him or her of the functionality of the other senses (Lacey & Sathian, 2014; Saradjan, 2015). The aim of our research is to test the creativity of individuals when manipulating objects and mobilizing their senses andkinaesthetic properties for creating mental imagery (Amabile, 1993; Finke, Pinker& Farah, 1989; Finke, 1990; Finke, Ward & Smith, 1992; Palmiero, Nori, Aloisi,Ferrara & Piccardi, 2015; Tam, Phillipson, & Phillipson; 2016; Palmiero & Piccardi,2020). Our protocol involves 136 engineers divided into 34 groups of fourindividuals. The 45-minute sessions are composed of a pre-inventive - divergentprocess - and then an inventive - convergent process - phases (Palmiero & Piccardi,2020). The sessions were recorded and filmed in order to code them for analysis.The individuals had to manipulate cubes illustrating manufacturing inventiveprinciples (Lang, Segond, Jean, Gazo, Guegan, Buisine & Mantelet, 2021) or basicobjects from the Creative Mental Synthesis Task (Finke, 1992). They verbalized object manipulations aloud (Ericsson & Simon, 1980). From their manipulations,they had to create three different objects. The results show a reliable creativityscore (α = 0.984). Subjective and inter-subjective facilitation behaviours (F(1,30)= 7.277, p = 0.011, η²p = 0.195)were significantly higher with the Cubes (M =30.77, SD = 18.92)) than with the CMST forms (M = 17.03, SD = 7.58). Cognitiveand Emotional Operations (F(1,30) = 14.178, p = 0.001, η²p = 0.321) were alsomore numerous with the Cubes (M = 32.23, SD = 21.4) than with the CMST (M =12.92, SD = 5.39). Creativity performance (F(1,30) = 46.781, p < 0.001, η²p =0.609) was significantly higher with the Cubes (M = 2.67, SD = 0.56) than withthe CMST (M = 1.64, SD = 0.21). They also show on an individual level a bettermobilization of the multisensorial senses. The research highlights the importance of sensoriality when handling objects with various complexities (geometrical,structural, functional, materials). This could contribute to improving practice forengineers, particularly for using additive manufacturing and/or during their trainingat school.