Using Torrance Creative Thinking Criteria to Describe Complex Decision Making During an Outbreak Management by Public Health Experts

  • Liliane PellegrinEmail author
  • Leila Chassery
  • Nathalie Bonnardel
  • Christelle Tong
  • Vincent Pommier de Santi
  • Gaëtan Texier
  • Hervé Chaudet
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 822)


This study focused on the application of Torrance framework about creative thinking in a complex professional context: the management and control of an outbreak by experts in epidemiology and public health. We argue that building accurate responses in this context depends on the complexity of situations, such as ‘epidemiologic problems’ experts have to deal with. Thus, depending on the problem’s complexity, experts could possibly adapt their problem solving strategies, using either ‘standard’ strategies or more ‘creative’ ones.

Our goal was to characterize expert decision processes developed during critical situation (where rule-based strategies and usual procedures could be not satisfyingly applied) with regard to creativity criteria described by Torrance (fluency, flexibility, elaboration and originality). We carried out a simulated outbreak alert to study creative processes during experts problem-solving activities. This simulation was intended to put specialists in a context of epidemiological problem management, based on possible real practice but conducive to implement creative solutions. The analysis carried out on the observations allowed us to identify a total of 14 different themes, with 148 ideas expressed by the participants. The participants have therefore actively contributed to the elaboration of ideas as well as to the mutual enrichment and implementation of ideas. However, the number of evocated topics and ideas and their level of elaborations appears higher when epidemiologists are more experienced in their domain. Thus, creative thinking appears to be an important aspect of the epidemiological alert management and related to experience in this area.


Creativity Expert decision-making Simulation Epidemiology 



We are grateful to Dr. MA. Creach, Dr. F. Berger, Pr. JB Meynard from CESPA and C. Adamo from PsyCLe for their participation in this research as main Dirani facilitators. This research was granted by the PDH-1-SMO-4-17 funds (SSA/IRBA-Military Institute of Biomedical Research & DGA-Army General Direction).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Liliane Pellegrin
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Leila Chassery
    • 1
    • 2
  • Nathalie Bonnardel
    • 2
  • Christelle Tong
    • 1
  • Vincent Pommier de Santi
    • 1
    • 3
  • Gaëtan Texier
    • 1
    • 3
  • Hervé Chaudet
    • 3
  1. 1.French Army Centre of Epidemiology and Public Health (CESPA), SSAMarseilleFrance
  2. 2.Aix-Marseille Univ, Centre of Research in the Psychology of Cognition, Language and Emotion (PsyCLE), EA 3273Aix-en-ProvenceFrance
  3. 3.Aix Marseille Univ, IRD, SSA, AP-HM, VITROME, IHU-Méditerranée InfectionMarseilleFrance

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