The Role of Incubation in Creative Problem Solving: Within a Collectivistic Cultural Context
Forman Christian College, Lahore
Creative thinking is essential for the progress in education, industry and life in general. Incubation is a widely studied phenomenon in creativity research, referring to leaving a problem aside for a period, to accrue performance on a creative problem. This study investigated the effect of incubation on creative problem-solving by means of a pretest-posttest quasi-experimental design, and remote associates tasks (RATs) were used as a measure of creative problem-solving. For this purpose, a sample of 60 students (22 males, 38 females) was recruited from the population of a private university. They were assigned to a control condition and two different experimental conditions based on the time of onset of incubation. The data collected was analyzed for a significant effect across all conditions by means of a chi-squared test and covariates were inferred by means of Spearman's Rho, with a significance level set at ?<.05. The results did not find an incubation effect in creative problem-solving, and several possible explanations may account for this trend, especially the limited cross-cultural application of measurement tools and theoretical paradigms. The disparity is especially prominent with regards to Pakistan, which is predominantly collectivistic, and the educational system stymies creative thinking. Future research must take into account the relevance of culture in creative problem-solving, and propose solutions to circumvent the dearth of creative potential in developing nations such as Pakistan.
Keywords: Incubation, Creative Problem-Solving, Creativity, Remote Associate Tasks, Cross-Cultural Psychology