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Would you like to guess the percentage of the participants in the second group who solved the puzzle correctly?
Yet participants’ performance was not improved even when they were given specific instructions to do so.MATADERO MAD - Utilizamos cookies propias y de terceros para mejorar nuestra web mediante el análisis de tu navegación en nuestro sitio.Although studying creativity is considered a legitimate scientific discipline nowadays, it is still a very young one. One of Guilford’s most famous studies was the nine-dot puzzle.That is, direct and explicit instructions to think outside the box did not help.That this advice is useless when actually trying to solve a problem involving a real box should effectively have killed off the much widely disseminated—and therefore, much more dangerous—metaphor that out-of-the-box thinking spurs creativity.Both teams followed the same protocol of dividing participants into two groups.
The first group was given the same instructions as the participants in Guilford’s experiment.
Indeed, the concept enjoyed such strong popularity and intuitive appeal that no one bothered to check the facts.
No one, that is, before two different research teams—Clarke Burnham with Kenneth Davis, and Joseph Alba with Robert Weisberg—ran another experiment using the same puzzle but a different research procedure.
Because they hadn’t, they were obviously not as creative or smart as they had previously thought, and needed to call in creative experts. The nine-dot puzzle and the phrase “thinking outside the box” became metaphors for creativity and spread like wildfire in marketing, management, psychology, the creative arts, engineering, and personal improvement circles.
There seemed to be no end to the insights that could be offered under the banner of thinking outside the box.
Only 20 percent managed to break out of the illusory confinement and continue their lines in the white space surrounding the dots.