Edward Powell – Reflection 8

In this reading, the authors measure the effects of diversity on group collaboration for generation ideas. They break down diversity into two major categories: internal and external. For external diversity they utilize pictures generated based on the current conversation that were either based on two of their methods of semantic and congruent. And for internal diversity, the researchers used different cultures of people, specifically a Western vs. Eastern philosophy (American and Chinese). Their results were mostly validated with some signs of indifferences and/or minimal effects.

One shortcoming I found in the paper was the lack of internal diversity. Having only two cultures limits the potential internal diversity that can be discovered. Furthermore, groups of two people are quite small. The researchers admitted at the end of their paper that there might have been a language barrier that inhibited some of the Chinese participants. If for instance a Mexican American or a native Mexican population were used, this could decrease that barrier because they are both considered “Western.”

Here, creativity is also centered on being facilitated during a live scenario. On contrary, it would be interesting to see how these same ideals of being exposed to greater diversity would apply in an asynchronous environment. There are some social barriers that are involved as mentioned throughout the paper. But, if a person could be exposed to diverse ideas without having to confront those, could it lessen the social barriers that lead to less people thinking through their ideas. Of course, not having the back and forth conversation would likely limit the various depths and layers that an individual can get to by him/her self. Without that instant feedback, there is a limitation to the internal diversity depth innately in that scenario. Crowdsourcing based on varying demographics is another way to achieve the goals and results that the paper suggests. However, if this was done online with Mechanical Turk, for instance, it is harder to validate the legitimacy of one’s demographic. One could design the task to have some basic cultural knowledge, but this system would still be flawed.

For my project, I am working on it individually. However, there is another student working on a similar project. He is from a different culture and background than me. Some collaboration or discussion with him could be useful. I believe another type of diversity that the paper does not discuss is the diversity of people’s expertise. Even within the computer science field, for example, many people have various specialties. Overall, this was an interesting read with mostly affirming results about existing theories of cognition.