Early and Repeated Exposure to Examples Improves Creative Work

  • Chinmay KulkarniEmail author
  • Steven P. Dow
  • Scott R Klemmer
Part of the Understanding Innovation book series (UNDINNO)


This article presents the results of an online creativity experiment (N = 81) that examines the effect of example timing on creative output. In the between-subjects experiment, participants drew animals to inhabit an alien Earth-like planet while being exposed to examples early, late, or repeatedly during the experiment. We find that exposure to examples increases conformity. Early exposure to examples improves creativity (measured by the number of common and novel features in drawings, and subjective ratings by independent raters). Repeated exposure to examples interspersed with prototyping leads to even better results. However, late exposure to examples increases conformity, but does not improve creativity.


Repeated Exposure Creative Process Critical Feature Creative Work Creative Task 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank the Hasso Plattner Design Thinking Research Program for supporting this work.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chinmay Kulkarni
    • 1
    Email author
  • Steven P. Dow
    • 2
  • Scott R Klemmer
    • 1
  1. 1.Stanford University HCI GroupStanfordUSA
  2. 2.Carnegie Mellon, HCI InstitutePittsburghUSA

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