Cognitive Antifreeze: The Visual Inception of Fluid Sociomaterial Interactions for Knowledge Creation

  • Lawrence McGrath
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Information Systems and Organisation book series (LNISO, volume 11)


This pilot study investigates the idea generation process of ad-hoc pairs using external visualisations for divergent thought. The study’s objective is to examine if pairs’ perceived possibility to change the external visualisations of their ideas affects how deeply they explore cognitive categories. The depth of cognitive category exploration is known as cognitive persistence. A 2 x 2 factorial experiment with active middle to upper level management participants was employed. The experiment operationalised the perceived changeability, or fluidity, of visual objects through manipulation of pairs’ worksheet template and writing instruments. For the writing instrument, pencils operationalised high perceived changeability, and pens operationalised low perceived changeability. For the worksheet template, blank sheets operationalised high perceived changeability, and pre-printed mindmaps operationalised low perceived changeability. The results indicate that a sociomaterial interaction impacts upon participants’ cognitive persistence. This study finds that cognitive persistence is highest amongst pairs using a consistently high perceived changeability pencil/blank worksheet combination. Conversely pairs using a high perceived changeability pencil with a low perceived changeability pre-printed mindmap display the lowest cognitive persistence. The materials pairs note ideas with together influence their need to seize upon an idea. Such seizure reduces cognitive persistence. Fluid visual representations function as an effective cognitive antifreeze.


Creativity Dyad Visualisation Perceived finishedness Cognitive persistence 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of St. GallenSt. GallenSwitzerland

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