Personal and Ubiquitous Computing

, Volume 18, Issue 5, pp 1159–1167 | Cite as

Trains of thought on the tabletop: visualizing association of ideas improves creativity

  • Amandine Afonso Jaco
  • Stéphanie Buisine
  • Jessy Barré
  • Améziane Aoussat
  • Frédéric Vernier
Original Article

Abstract

According to the Search for Ideas in Associative Memory theory, ideas in a brainstorming session do not come one by one but rather in “trains of thought,” which are rapid accumulations of semantically related ideas. In order to visualize these trains of thought, we developed a brainwriting tabletop interface enabling users to link successive ideas together by means of graphical ropes. To test the effectiveness of this device, 48 participants (in groups of four) brainstormed for 20 min on the tabletop in one of two conditions: either with the train-of-thought interface (with graphical ropes), or without the ropes (control condition). The results show that visualizing the associations between ideas enabled the participants to produce longer trains of thought. We also assessed originality by collecting the unique ideas in the whole corpus of ideas produced by the different groups and observed that the train-of-thought condition produced more original ideas than the control one. One interpretation of this finding is that visualizing trains of thought increases cognitive stimulation, i.e., improves creativity by making others’ ideas more intelligible to the brainstorming partners, in comparison with the classical visualization of ideas as independent items.

Keywords

Train of thought Brainstorming Interactive tabletop system SIAM theory 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amandine Afonso Jaco
    • 1
  • Stéphanie Buisine
    • 1
  • Jessy Barré
    • 1
  • Améziane Aoussat
    • 1
  • Frédéric Vernier
    • 2
  1. 1.Arts et Métiers ParisTechLCPIParisFrance
  2. 2.LIMSI-CNRSOrsay CedexFrance

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