Using Legos with Instructions Reduces Creativity

Source: Psychology Today, Jun 2015

Is it better for kids to free-build with LEGOs or to follow the instructions of kits?

following the instructions of a LEGO kit undercut participants’ ability to be creative in subsequent tasks. Chalk it up to mindset: “building with a LEGO kit with instructions puts you in the mindset to solve well-defined problems, which makes it harder to solve ill-defined problems,” Moreau says.

the “better understanding” of this research is that the more we are confronted by and complete well-defined problems like LEGO kits or word finds or color-in-the-lines pictures, the less we choose to engage in and the worse we are at solving ill-defined problems: create something beautiful, discover something meaningful, find someone to love.

Related Reading: University of Wisconsin, Jul 2015

working in well-defined problem-solving situations where the problem is clear and there is an identified way to reach a known solution, diminishes creative thinking and the desire to engage in creative tasks.

Moreau said a well-defined problem-solving mindset is characterized by convergent thinking, with an emphasis on speed, accuracy, and logic in pursuit of a single best (or correct) answer to a clear question. Additional research found that it wasn’t the rigid process of building a Lego kit that reduced creativity, but rather the search for that single correct answer.

 

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