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Perspective and Mental Resources in Brainstorming Exercises
Last registered on September 21, 2020
View Trial History
Perspective and Mental Resources in Brainstorming Exercises
Initial registration date
May 03, 2020
September 21, 2020 5:15 AM EDT
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
University of Cambridge
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Other Primary Investigator(s)
Additional Trial Information
Firms & Productivity
This study explores how the taking of different perspectives affects performance in brainstorming tasks. We work with a company in London to run a field study, exploring whether perspective affects the creativity of generated ideas and the number of ideas generated in a brainstorming task.
Ebert, Charlie. 2020. "Perspective and Mental Resources in Brainstorming Exercises." AEA RCT Registry. September 21.
Sponsors & Partners
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes (end points)
This study will measure participants’ performance in the brainstorming task using two types of measurement. First the creativity of generated ideas will be measured using experts, as is common in brainstorming tasks that involve expert contexts (Grant and Berry 2011). The generated ideas will be judged by a team of judges at [the company. The criteria for judgement will be (1) how novel the ideas are and (2) how useful the ideas are. Ratings will follow a 7-point Likert scale (1 = lowest score, 7 = highest score). Finally, a score for total number of ideas generated will also be used as an outcome, as is common in many brainstorming studies (Bonk 2003; Guilford 1967).
Trait Attribution/Self-Other Overlap
We are also concerned with two other main outcome variables that relate to each other. The first is the amount of trait attribution given to the subject the participant is generating ideas for, and the second is the degree of self-other overlap generated between conditions. Both of these are measured using the same combination of tasks (Aron et al. 1991; Davis et al. 1996; Galinsky and Moskowitz 2000; Goldstein and Cialdini 2007). First participants in all three conditions will be shown a series of 90 traits, and will decide how much each trait accurately describes them as people (scale of 1 to 7, 1 = not at all and 7 = very much). Then, after the brainstorming task, conditions 2 and 3 will be shown the same 90 traits and asked to decide how well those same 90 traits describe the subject in their brainstorming task. The degree to which traits are ascribed to the subject (i.e. the higher the scores for each trait) by participants in conditions 2 and 3 is a measure of trait attribution. The extent to which these scores overlap with the participants’ trait attributions for themselves is the degree of self-other overlap. To be more specific, self-other overlap is calculated as the absolute value of the difference between the trait attribution a participant gives for the 90 traits to himself/herself and to the subject he/she is making decisions for in the brainstorming task.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
For control, we will measure participants perspective taking and prosocial motivation. We will adapt the perspective taking and prosocial motivation scales (Grant 2008) for the purposes of our study, as the original scales were related to the music industry rather than comedy entertainment. We will also include manipulations checks to ensure the condition was followed. In addition, we will include a check for effort, on the chance that the conditions affect effort. The check for effort will either be a single-item measure or an adaption from the intrinsic motivation scale used in Grant and Berry (2011). Finally, we will measures participants on other characteristics, such as personality (Big-5), and we may also explore other secondary measures of creativity, but these are not the main considered outcome.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
The experimental design is between subjects, randomized controlled trial of employees at a company in london. There are three conditions and the correspond to different perspectives the subject could take while doing a brainstorming task.
Experimental Design Details
Trial design: • Description of trial design (such as parallel, factorial) including the unit of randomisation (e.g. individual or another unit such as startup, SME, class, school), number of trial arms and allocation ratio. This study uses a 3X1 between-subjects design involving the solving of a brainstorming task. The three conditions are Solving the brainstorming task while taking a self-perspective Taking someone else’s perspective and imagining how you would solve a brainstorming task if you were that person. Imagine you are observing someone else and considering how he or she could solve a brainstorming task. The unit of randomization will be at the individual level, using a random number generator to randomize the participants and allocate them equally between the groups. • Description of methods used to generate the allocation sequence including details of any pairing or stratification. Qualtrics has a built-in process for randomization that will equally distribute participants amongst the treatment and control groups. Participants: Description of who is eligible and how they will be identified and recruited; description of exclusion criteria for participants if applicable. The participants are all employees of [Company]. They will mainly be from London, but may be employees at any location for [the company. They are identified and selected through our contact, who is a director at [the company]. As this is a field experiment, the selection process will be through the contact’s network. Interventions: Details of the interventions for each group with sufficient detail to allow replication. Intervention: Brain Storming Task Under Different Perspectives Participants will be randomly allocated into one of three conditions below: 1. Taking a self-perspective (called Condition 1 in this section) 2. Taking someone else’s perspective (called Condition 2 in this section) 3. Observing someone else (called Condition 3 in this section) Participants will perform a brainstorming task under each of the above conditions. The task is currently being created by [Company], but will roughly be related to the finding of new avenues for a sale representative to find a customer or for a customer to enjoy a product. Below is an example question that has been devised by the team in the early stages of planning. The brainstorming question should be of a similar nature. a. Condition 1 Imagine all the standard avenues of client acquisition are not available (possibly list them out). For the next three minutes generate as many alternative or nonstandard avenues of talent acquisition as possible. Remember this is a brainstorming session, so generate as many ideas as possible and feel free to be creative. Importantly, try to take your own perspective during this task, as if you are facing this challenge. b. Condition 2 Imagine all the standard avenues of client acquisition are not available to Sally (Jim) (possibly list them out). For the next three minutes, help Sally (Jim) generate as many alternative or nonstandard avenues of talent acquisition as possible. Remember this is a brainstorming session, so generate as many ideas as possible and feel free to be creative. Importantly, try to take Sally’s (Jim’s) perspective during this task. Imagine you are her (him) and are facing this challenge. c. Condition 3 Imagine all the standard avenues of client acquisition are not available to Sally (Jim) (possibly list them out). For the next three minutes, help Sally (Jim) generate as many alternative or nonstandard avenues of talent acquisition as possible. Remember this is a brainstorming session, so generate as many ideas as possible and feel free to be creative. Importantly, try to take the perspective of an observer in this task. Imagine are watching Sally (Jim) as she (he) tries to come up with ideas. Participants will have 2 minutes to generate as many ideas as possible.
Qualtrics has a randomizer that it applies to all participants that begin the survey. I will have it set to randomly allocate participants evenly to three different conditions.
participant-level randomization. individual level.
Was the treatment clustered?
Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
50 participants per condition, so 150 participants.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Supporting Documents and Materials
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Post Trial Information
Is the intervention completed?
Is data collection complete?
Is public data available?
Reports, Papers & Other Materials
REPORTS & OTHER MATERIALS