Feb 22, 2007

brainstorming in groups: bad for idea-generation?

Here's the study abstract:
This research examines the effect of brand cues on retrieval of target brands by individuals in collaborative (vs. noncollaborative) settings. We examine two theories, salience of the brand cue and retrieval-strategy disruption, as potential explanations. Two experiments show that brand cues lead to greater inhibition of target brands in a collaborative versus a noncollaborative setting. The theoretical contribution is the exposition of a double-cueing effect of brand cues such that both (a) cue salience and (b) cue-induced retrieval-strategy disruption are greater for individuals in a collaborative setting. The discussion highlights additional theoretical implications of this research.
Here's the MSN interpretation:
People have a harder time coming up with alternative solutions to a problem when they are part of a group, new research suggests.

Scientists exposed study participants to one brand of soft drink then asked them to think of alternative brands. Alone, they came up with significantly more products than when they were grouped with two others.
See the non sequitur? Where's the link between recall memory and problem-solving or insight?

Here's the researcher's take:
“When a group gets together, they can miss out on good options,” study team member H. Shanker Krishnan told LiveScience. This could mean ordering from a pizza place advertised on television even if there’s a better option, or making a poor decision in the boardroom. “Whether it’s with family or a group of co-workers, we could very quickly fixate on things and all come up with the same options.”
And here's MSN's version of the researcher's take:
The researchers speculate that when a group of people receives information, the inclination is to discuss it. The more times one option is said aloud, the harder it is for individuals to recall other options, explained Krishnan, associate professor of marketing at Indiana University.
So, does this apply to true "brainstorming," where the purpose is to generate novel ideas, and not recall names of soda brands? What, if any, are the wider implications? Do groups truly make us "dumber," as the title blares?

This warrants further investigation. Pity that the fulltext won't hit ProQuest for another eight months or more. I'll see what else I can dig up.

1 comment:

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