Talk by Dr. Kevyn Yong on “Effects of Multiple-Identities and Figure-Ground Illusions on Creativity”

Dr. Kevyn Yong

There will be a departmental talk on 24 Aug (4pm) by Dr. Kevyn Yong. More details are provided below.

Date/Time: 24 August 2010 (Tuesday), 4pm

Venue: AS7/01-17 (Seminar Room B)

Title: Effects of Multiple-Identities and Figure-Ground Illusions on Creativity


Creativity is often linked with the ability to make connections between different perspectives.

Recent research suggests that the associative processes underlying this ability do not excel under conscious thought, which implies that the ability to make creative connections is best left to the nonconscious and therefore difficult to control. In the first experiment, however, I show that consciously practicing looking at the different perspectives of figure-ground illusions actually facilitates creativity.

A second body of research also suggests that individual creativity can be explained by (i) the extent to which an individual’s different social identities are integrated (e.g. growing up bi-cultural or being a female engineer), and (ii) how well adapted an individual was during an extensive experience living overseas. In a second experiment, I show that activating multiple social identities can facilitate the ability to make creative connections (even if knowledge associated with these identities are not related to the task) and that this creative advantage extends to dyads engaged in joint problem-solving.

About the speaker:

Kevyn is an Assistant Professor of Management at HEC Paris. His research focuses primarily on creativity. Currently, he is working on the non-conscious processes underlying creative thinking and the link between social-cognition and creativity in social networks.

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