Visualizing Divergent Potential: Development of an AI Driven Research Tool to Study the Role of Perception in Divergent Thinking



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The focus of this research is divergent thinking as an exercise; both its capacity as one of several essential mechanisms of creative behaviors and the affectual conditions inherent to it. Using a perceptual model as an object of focus, the conditions that affect an individual designer’s perceptual model are studied. It is hypothesized that inflating a perceptual model to entail a greater variety of attributes entails growth in a perceptual model. Growth imbues a greater divergent potential from one’s perceptual model. The purpose of this study is to express the prescriptive role of perception in the context of divergent thinking through a visual model of DP and produce a replicable process for visualizing DP as a research tool. A conceptual framework is advanced in three phases: a literature review of the relevant body of knowledge, an exploratory survey used to identify relationships between scenarios of growth and divergent thinking, and lastly the application of those insights into the formation of an illustrative model of divergent potential model. The DP forecasting constellation model can then be used as a process in future research to study conditions that affect divergent thinking outputs. An exploratory study indicates that growth in a perceptual model can occur in at least two scenarios; observational growth and ideational growth indicating that divergent thinking can be mapped through the growth of a perceptual model which is prescriptive to divergent thinking. This indicates that divergent thinking is related to the plasticity of a perceptual model. Divergent potential (DP) is posited as a static metric to forecast divergent thinking. Using a two-part artificial intelligence, natural language processing tools are deployed to dissect and classify unique perceptual models into boundary of language. This is used to generate a collection of coordinate points to sequentially plot a three dimensional curve. The resulting constellation predicts divergent potential as prescribed by an individual’s perceptual model. These divergent potential forecasting constellations are contextualized in a case study of designers.



Design, Divergent thinking, Perception, Creativity, AI, Artificial intelligence, Visualization