Abstract

In the present research, the authors hypothesized that additive counterfactual thinking mind-sets, activated by adding new antecedent elements to reconstruct reality, promote an expansive processing style that broadens conceptual attention and facilitates performance on creative generation tasks, whereas subtractive counter-factual thinking mind-sets, activated by removing antecedent elements to reconstruct reality, promote a relational processing style that enhances tendencies to consider relationships and associations and facilitates performance on analytical problem-solving tasks. A reanalysis of a published data set suggested that the counterfactual mind-set primes previously used in the literature tend to evoke subtractive counterfactuals. Studies 1 and 2 then demonstrated that subtractive counterfactual mind-sets enhanced performance on analytical problem-solving tasks relative to additive counterfactual mind-sets, whereas Studies 3 and 4 found that additive counterfactual mind-sets enhanced performance on creative generation tasks relative to subtractive counterfactual mind-sets.

Authors
K. Markman, M. Lindberg, L. Kray, and Adam Galinsky
Format
Journal Article
Publication Date
Journal
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin

Full Citation

Markman, K., M. Lindberg, L. Kray, and Adam Galinsky
. “Implications of counterfactual structure for creative generation and analytical problem solving.”
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin
vol.
33
, (March 01, 2007):
312
-
324
.