Collaborative fixation: Effects of others' ideas on brainstorming


  • The present experiments were earlier reported in a dissertation by Nicholas Kohn.


Three experiments examined whether or not fixation effects occur in brainstorming as a function of receiving ideas from others. Exchanging ideas in a group reduced the number of domains of ideas that were explored by participants. Additionally, ideas given by brainstormers conformed to ideas suggested by other participants. Temporal analyses showed how the quantity, variety and novelty of ideas fluctuate over the course of a brainstorming session. Taking a break modulated the natural decline over time in the quantity and variety of ideas. Although fixation was observed in brainstorming in terms of conformity and restriction of the breadth of ideas, it did not influence the number of ideas generated in these experiments. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.