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Medeiros co-authors journal article on evaluation of ideas in creative process

Kelsey Medeiros, an assistant professor of psychology
Kelsey Medeiros, an assistant professor of psychology

A psychology faculty member at The University of Texas at Arlington has published the results of a study which measures the effectiveness of idea evaluation in the process of creativity.

Kelsey Medeiros, an assistant professor of psychology, co-authored the paper, titled “Looking beyond the generation of creative ideas: Confidence in evaluating ideas predicts creative outcomes”. It was published in the April 2018 edition of the journal Personality and Individual Differences. Her co-authors were Logan Steele of the University of South Florida, and Genevieve Johnson of the American Institutes for Research.

Creative self-efficacy (CSE), which is a person’s belief that they can produce creative outcomes, is one of many constructs used to predict creativity. Since its introduction as a concept 15 years ago, numerous studies have shown that CSE is a significant predictor of creativity. However, Medeiros and her co-authors argued that previous CSE research mainly focused on the generative processes involved in creativity while excluding creativity's evaluative processes.

“As a result of ignoring the distinction between these two processes, we are left with an incomplete understanding of how CSE influences creativity,” Medeiros said. “We sought to address these limitations by developing a new measure that focuses on idea evaluation self-efficacy in order to complement extant measures of CSE which primarily focus on idea generation.”

Experimental creativity research has historically focused on idea generation, ignoring other critical processes such as problem identification, information gathering, and idea evaluation, Medeiros explained.

Creative self-efficacy – a person’s belief that they can be creative – has been shown to positively relate to creative performance. However, the primary measure of creative self-efficacy only measures individual’s beliefs about their ability to generate ideas. Medeiros and her co-authors developed a measure of creative self-efficacy that assesses idea evaluation self-efficacy (IESE).

“This is important because it more fully represents the nature of creative self-efficacy as a multi-faceted belief as it relates to the multi-faceted nature of creative performance,” she said. “Additionally, idea evaluation is a critical skill needed so, broadly, the creativity research needs to place more of an emphasis on understanding this process.

Medeiros and her co-authors conducted two studies to measure their idea of idea evaluation self-efficacy. The first study was designed to allow participants to complete the new measure of CSE, as well as measures of constructs used to assess the convergent and discriminant validity of this new measure. In the second study, participants completed a creative problem-solving task where they took on the role of a new product development manager for a restaurant chain. The participants then developed new ideas for expanding the restaurant chain in a local city. Their ideas were rated for novelty and usefulness by trained judges.

 Medeiros and her co-authors said that by probing CSE as a construct and its operationalization, they identified that self-efficacy with respect to the evaluative portion of the creative process may play an important role in creative performance. They hope that their investigation and the introduction of IESE as an individual difference will serve as a useful impetus for future research in this area.

“We found validity evidence for our measure and that our measure of idea evaluation self-efficacy significantly predicted the usefulness and novelty of ideas developed by participants,” she said.

Perry Fuchs, professor and chair of the UTA Department of Psychology, said that the research provides an important advance in the study of creativity and extends the University’s push in data driven discovery, one of the main pillars of UTA’s Strategic Plan 2020: Bold Solutions | Global Impact.

“This research provides solid evidence that much more emphasis needs to be given to the idea evaluation side of the creative process,” Fuchs said. “Some people are better at generating ideas and others are better at evaluating and revising ideas, and Dr. Medeiros’ research is a clear sign that much more research needs to be done regarding the evaluative portion of the process.”

Medeiros’ research interests are in ethical decision making, corporate social responsibility, and creative problem solving. She received her Ph.D. in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from the University of Oklahoma in 2016, an M.S. in I/O Psychology from the University of Oklahoma in 2013, and a B.S. in Psychology from Penn State University in 2011. She came to UTA in the fall of 2016.