Costly copying: can an inadequate tool model elicit innovative behaviour?

Taylor, Carla (2012). Costly copying: can an inadequate tool model elicit innovative behaviour? Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

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Author Taylor, Carla
Thesis Title Costly copying: can an inadequate tool model elicit innovative behaviour?
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2012-10-10
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Shelli Dubbs
Total pages 77
Language eng
Subjects 1701 Psychology
Abstract/Summary Humans are renowned for their ability to innovate, to create and modify existing objects to serve novel purposes. In practice however, this type of innovative behaviour is rare, and humans will preferentially copy an existing model to avoid the costs typically associated with individual experimentation. While imitating success is the ideal low-cost strategy, imitating failure can be very costly. We experimentally tested the idea that innovative behaviour is most likely when the current model is presented as inadequate for the task at hand. Fifty-five individuals were required to construct a handmade crossbow and take shots at a dartboard—receiving a monetary reward if they successfully hit the target 5/10 times. While a model crossbow was provided to all, half of the participants were informed that this model was successful at hitting the dartboard on average 8/10 times, and the other half, only 2/10 times. It was predicted that innovation would be observed more frequently in the 2/10 condition, where the model crossbow was presented as inadequate. Further, it was hypothesised that innovation would be positively associated with creativity, cognitive ability, self-efficacy, motivation, and technical ability. Contrary to expectations, results indicated that innovative behaviour did not vary across the experimental conditions. Additionally, no support for a trait-based account of innovation emerged. While the current study presented with several methodological flaws, a sound basis for the future exploration of the predictors of innovation was provided.
Keyword Innovation
Social learning

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Created: Fri, 08 Mar 2013, 14:03:12 EST by Mrs Ann Lee on behalf of School of Psychology