INOV - Sociétés innovantes

Inhibition, Defixation, and Exploration: a study of neurocognitive biases in creativity and innovation – IDéfixE

Submission summary

How to make sense of situations in which a group is stuck on ideas or technologies that have proven to be ineffective and cannot lead to truly innovative solutions? This question is critical given that difficulty to come out with innovative ideas in certain industrial contexts occurs even though all the necessary conditions for innovation are fulfilled, such as in competitive clusters.
The project is based on the view shared by Partner 1 and 2 forged during their collaboration that some of the issues and shortenings of the dynamics of the industry is best explained as cognitive limitations. Indeed, as shown in decision making studies, people are biased and the capacity to generate new and innovative ideas is constrained by heuristics that lead to fixation effect.
In this context, the aim of this project is to identify the key cognitive processes that allow to generate innovative ideas and to determine to what extent it is possible to develop set a of management tools to overcome these fixation effects in industries. Therefore the originality of the present project rests on its strong interdisciplinarity between researchers from the management science, researchers from cognitive psychology and neuroscience and experts involved in managing innovative solutions for healthcare industries.
In order to demonstrate the key role of inhibitory control in generating creative ideas by overcoming fixation effect, the Partner 1 and the Partner 2 will design a behavioral study based on a negative priming paradigm – i.e., a paradigm that allows to demonstrate that inhibition is required to perform a task – applied to creative thinking. Then, we will study in EEG the neural bases of the fixation effects to characterize the interplay between inhibitory control and exploration in creativity. Based on the on the behavioral and neurocognitive results, we will develop and assess the effect of an intervention aiming at developing both the ability to inhibit fixation effect and explore new ideas. Indeed, if inhibitory control and exploration of new ideas are critical processes to generate innovative ideas, then an intervention aiming at training executive functions should increase the ability to come out with creative ideas. In order to assess the efficiency of such intervention, we will use a classical pre-test/training/post-test procedure. We will study whether such intervention increase creativity and what are the underlying neuro-anatomical change induced by such intensive training using anatomical MRI (Partner 4). The last step of this project is to transfer the results from the different experiments to the industrial world under the close supervision of Partner 3. Based on the interventions developed in the research part of the projects, we will develop new management tools in order to increase the efficiency of inhibitory control and exploration in industries and government agencies. Finally, we will organize three interdisciplinary workshops through the Special interest group on design theory of the design society in order to disseminate and to discuss our results with leading experts in the field.

Project coordination

Mathieu Cassotti (Laboratoire de Psychologie du Développement et de l’Éducation de l'enfant, CNRS (3521), Université Paris Descartes)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


LaPsyDÉ Laboratoire de Psychologie du Développement et de l’Éducation de l'enfant, CNRS (3521), Université Paris Descartes
I-Care Cluster Cluster I-Care, le Cluster des Technologies de la Santé Rhône-Alpes
SIMF Service d'Imagerie Morphologique et Fonctionnelle, Hôpital Ste Anne

Help of the ANR 376,230 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: January 2014 - 42 Months

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