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Fall 2014

Inquiry Magazine Archive

  • Spring 2016

    Spring 2016: Premium Blend

    Found in everything from space shuttles to dental fillings, composite materials have thoroughly infiltrated modern society. But their potential is still greatly untapped, offering researchers ample opportunity for discovery.

  • Fall 2015

    Fall 2015: Collision Course

    Within the particle showers created at the Large Hadron Collider, answers to some of the universe’s mysteries are waiting.

  • Spring 2015

    Spring 2015: Almost Human

    Model systems like pigeons can help illuminate our own evolutionary and genomic history.

  • Fall 2014

    Fall 2014: Small Wonder

    UT Arlington's tiny windmills are bringing renewable energy to a whole new scale.

  • Winter 2014

    Winter 2014: Overdue for an Overhaul

    The stability of our highways, pipelines, and even manholes is reaching a breaking point.

  • 2012

    2012: Mystery solved?

    Scientists believe they have discovered a subatomic particle that is crucial to understanding the universe.

  • 2011

    2011: Boosting brain power

    UT Arlington researchers unlock clues to the human body’s most mysterious and complex organ.

  • 2010

    2010: Powered by genetics

    UT Arlington researchers probe the hidden world of microbes in search of renewable energy sources.

  • 2009

    2009: Winning the battle against pain

    Wounded soldiers are benefiting from Robert Gatchel’s program that combines physical rehabilitation with treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.

  • 2009

    2007: Sensing a solution

    Tiny sensors implanted in the body show promise in combating acid reflux disease, pain and other health problems.

  • 2006

    2006:Semiconductors: The next generation

    Nanotechnology researchers pursue hybrid silicon chips with life-saving potential.

  • 2005

    2005: Imaging is everything

    Biomedical engineers combat diseases with procedures that are painless to patients.

Collab Confab

Innovation by the Numbers

Multidisciplinary, multiuniversity team aims to uncover the science behind group creativity and innovation  

Kenworthy and Paulus

Jared Kenworthy and Paul Paulus are quantifying group thought.

If two heads are better than one, then three heads must be even better, right? That’s what a group of interdisciplinary researchers hopes to demonstrate.

Logically, it makes sense: Harnessing the power of a group of great thinkers to solve a problem should yield more impressive results. While experimental literature exists on why and how such collective problem-solving works, it mostly focuses on short-term group interactions in a lab setting. But a new study by UTA psychology faculty members Paul Paulus and Jared Kenworthy aims to quantify the dynamic nature of group creativity and innovation in long-term, real-world situations, particularly as it concerns human networks like the Internet and smartphones.

The team—which includes researchers from the University of Cincinnati, the University of Stony Brook, and Hofstra University—is investigating how factors like diversity, size, the structure of the interaction process, and the extent of interaction can influence the development of creative ideas. These factors will be coded and subjected to detailed data mining and network analyses.

“We hope to develop a broad theoretical perspective that can account for both laboratory and field data,” Dr. Paulus says. “This will involve the development of complex computational models and multi-agent models by other members of the team. Our laboratory research will then focus on testing some of the predictions that are suggested by those models.”

The team recently received a three-year, $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation’s Integrated NSF Support Promoting Interdisciplinary Research and Education (INSPIRE) program. The INSPIRE grant enabled them to expand the range and complexity of their research and offer students the opportunity to be involved with the potentially groundbreaking work.

“Collaborative innovation is a complex and still poorly understood process,” Dr. Kenworthy says. “Our findings could suggest optimal ways to structure interaction and info exchange within and between organizations or in large-scale networks.”

More articles from this issue

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