Creativity, Problem Solving, and Solution Set Sightedness: Radically Reformulating BVSR
July 16, 2012 Editor 0
Too often, psychological debates become polarized into dichotomous positions. Such polarization may have occurred with respect to Campbell’s (1960) blind variation and selective retention (BVSR) theory of creativity. To resolve this unnecessary controversy, BVSR was radically reformulated with respect to creative problem solving. The reformulation began by defining (a) potential solution sets consisting of k possible solutions each described by their respective probability and utility values, (b) a set sightedness metric that gauges the extent to which the probabilities correspond to the utilities, and (c) a solution creativity index based on the joint improbability and utility of each solution.
These definitions are then applied to representative cases in which simultaneous or sequential generate-and-test procedures scrutinize solution sets of variable size and with representative patterns of probabilities and utilities. The principal features of BVSR theory were then derived, including the implications of superfluity and backtracking.
Critically, it was formally demonstrated that the most creative solutions must emerge from solution sets that score extremely low in sightedness. Although this preliminary revision has ample room for further development, the demonstration proves that BVSR’s explanatory value does not depend on any specious association with Darwin’s theory of evolution.
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