Keith Sawyer

Keith Sawyer
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | UNC · School of Education

About

88
Publications
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6,094
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Publications

Publications (88)
Article
Increasingly, studies are investigating the factors that influence student discourse in science courses, and specifically the mechanisms and discourse processes within small groups, to better understand the learning that takes place as students work together. This paper contributes to a growing body of research by analyzing how students engage in c...
Article
This paper reports on an interview study with MFA students in two different full-time MFA degree programs in painting. The interviews were conducted as part of two ethnographic studies, each one academic year in length, of art and design schools at two U.S. universities. The goal was to explore the extended process whereby MFA student artists, in t...
Article
Background/Context In spite of the widely acknowledged importance of creativity to society and the economy, scholars have had difficulty providing research-based recommendations for how to foster creativity in schools. The article extends three strands of research that have attempted to provide such recommendations: studies of whether creativity tr...
Article
The education landscape has changed dramatically since 2006, when the first edition of this handbook was published. In 2006, the following innovations did not yet exist; today, each of them is poised to have a significant impact on education: Tablet computers, like Apple’s iPad and Microsoft’s Surface. In 2012, Apple released iBooks Author, a free...
Chapter
An organization may be internally creative, through the implementation of cost-saving technologies or new accounting procedures or the development of new technology R&D. However, the biggest impact on profitability and market share most often derives from external creativity, navel responses to new legislation or radical market shifts. Creativity a...
Chapter
To better understand the interactional mechanisms that make PLTL effective, we closely examined videotapes of two PLTL groups as they both solved the same chemistry problem. In one group, students engaged in group knowledge building: intellectual conversations where they asked each other questions, provided procedural and conceptual explanations, a...
Chapter
Peer Led Team Learning (PLTL) is a collaborative learning technique that has been used on many college campuses, particularly in large lecture classes in departments of chemistry. Several studies have shown that PLTL results in improved learning (Gafney and Varma-Nelson, Peer-Led team learning: Evaluation, dissemination, and institutionalization of...
Chapter
There is a consensus among organization researchers that most of the innovation that takes place in organizations happens in groups and teams. This chapter reviews studies of organizational innovation that focus on groups and teams. Examples include cross-functional task forces, process improvement committees, new product development teams, and top...
Chapter
Why Read This Chapter? To gain an overview of some key philosophical issues that underlie social simulation. Providing an awareness of them may help avoid the risk of presenting a very limited perspective on the social world in any simulations you develop. Abstract Simulations are usually directed at some version of the question: What is the relati...
Article
In 2003, I published a chapter in an edited volume titled Critical Creative Processes. The volume contained chapters by psychologists that focused on the mental processes underlying individual decision making (Runco 2003). In the psychology of creativity, there has been a long tradition of contrasting idea generation – sometimes called ‘divergent t...
Article
Jens Greve has accurately summarized nonreductive individualism (NRI) and has made an important contribution to an ongoing discussion concerning individualism, reductionism, and emergentism. Greve’s primary criticism is of my account of downward causation, and he cites Kim’s critique of Fodor by analogy. I argue that my original paper already addre...
Article
Sociocultural theory focuses on group processes through time, and argues that group phenomena cannot be reduced to explanation in terms of the mental states or actions of the participating individuals. This makes sociocultural theory particularly useful in the analysis of group creativity and group learning, because both group creativity and group...
Article
This book explores the connections and tensions between creativity research and developmental psychology, two fields that have largely progressed independently of each other until now. Scholars in psychology investigated the emergence of new ideas, and the development of people and situations that bring them to completion. Findings are based on the...
Article
Cognitive neuroscience studies of creativity have appeared with increasing frequently in recent years. Yet to date, no comprehensive and critical review of these studies has yet been published. The first part of this article presents a quick overview of the 3 primary methodologies used by cognitive neuroscientists: electroencephalography (EEG), pos...
Article
Most explanations are causal explanations: “I ate a snack because I was hungry.” This is a very simple causal explanation: the event of “being hungry” caused the event of “eating a snack.” However, this statement, connecting two states at two successive moments in time, does not provide the full causal story connecting these two events. How, exactl...
Article
Full-text available
To explore the creative improvisationality of everyday conversation, I conducted an extensive empirical study of an extremely improvised genre of talk : the staged theater performances of improvisational theater groups in Chicago, USA. To fully understand and explain these dialogues, I found it necessary to develop a new theoretical framework that...
Conference Paper
Peer-Led Team Learning (PLTL) is a structured method for helping students engage actively in collaborative conversations. The method originated in undergraduate chemistry courses, but is now used in math and in other science classes as well. Previous studies have shown that PLTL results in improved student learning in undergraduate chemistry. Howev...
Conference Paper
This symposium offers a reflexive examination of the Learning Sciences. We draw upon a variety of empirical data to explore the way the Learning Sciences is a distributed phenomenon, built on assemblages of artifacts, in which cognition is distributed and constructed, and identities are constituted. Our analysis has three steps. First, we explore t...
Article
Most educators believe that creativity and the arts should be an important part of the school day. But the arts have been struggling to hold their place in the curriculum. The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, with its mandatory annual testing on math and reading, has increased pressure on schools to demonstrate that their students are proficient i...
Article
Creativity is often considered to be a mental process that occurs within a person’s head. In this article, we analyze a group creative process: One that generates a creative product, but one in which no single participant’s contribution determines the result. We analyze a series of 5 theater performances that were improvisationally developed in reh...
Article
This Article argues that current intellectual property law is based on an inaccurate representation of how innovation actually occurs. It provides an alternate explanation of the innovative process and proposes and intellectual property protection policy better suited to that scheme.
Article
I draw on two traditions of research: the social psychology of collaborative groups, and the ethnographic study of improvisational performance. I outline a general model of group creativity derived from these traditions. I show how the model can be used to better understand musical competence and performance, and I provide recommendations for how m...
Article
Full-text available
This chapter introduces the field of learning sciences, and outlines some of its key findings in recent years. It explains that while the standard model of schooling was designed to prepare students for the industrial age, the global shift to the knowledge economy will require the rethinking of schooling in order to accommodate evolving needs. Seve...
Article
We are entering the innovation age. The innovation age requires very different citizens from the industrial age that dominated the globe for over a century: people who maximize their creative potential, people who not only master existing skills and knowledge, but who are capable of creating new skills and knowledge. To maximize innovation and know...
Article
Full-text available
Article
Purpose: This article explores distributed leadership as it relates to two teacher teams in one public secondary school. Both situational and social aspects of distributed leadership are foci of investigation. Methods: The qualitative study used constant comparative analysis and discourse analysis to explore leadership as a distributed phenomenon....
Article
In the last several decades many of the world's most developed countries have shifted from an industrial economy to a knowledge economy, one based on the creation of knowledge, information, and innovation. Educational researchers have paid very little scholarly attention to this economic shift, although it has substantial implications. After all, e...
Article
In this article, I focus on three defining characteristics of group creativity: improvisation, collaboration and emergence. To demonstrate these three characteristics, I present several examples of group creativity in both music and theater. Then I explore how structure and improvisation are always both present in group creativity. Improvisations c...
Article
In Spring 2006, The Cambridge Handbook of the Learning Sciences (CHLS) was published. CHLS is the first introduction and handbook of the learning sciences, and combines breadth of coverage with definitive statements by leading scientists working in the learning sciences. As such, it is an important milestone for the field. In this interactive sessi...
Chapter
This chapter suggests that there is evidence that musical ability is a genetic, biological competence; but then goes on to develop the argument that the evolutionary signs of music and language lie in sociality. It describes some attempts to identify and characterize some specific interactional mechanisms which are held in common by both musical an...
Article
In this article, we examine collaborative discourse in an informal undergraduate study group in which students focus on their lecture notes. Several decades of educational research have demonstrated that collaborative groups contribute to enhanced learning, and recent work has explored how external representations—such as those that appear in lectu...
Article
I explore a type of computational social simulation known as artificial societies. Artificial society simulations are dynamic models of real-world social phenomena. I explore the role that these simulations play in social explanation, by situating these simulations within contemporary philosophical work on explanation and on models. Many contempora...
Article
Effective classroom discussion is improvisational, because its effectiveness derives from the fact that it is not scripted. Instead, the flow of the class is unpredictable, and emerges from the actions of both teachers and students. In this article, I apply principles from training classes for improvisational actors to provide practical suggestions...
Article
This article focuses on emergence in social systems. The author begins by proposing a new tool to explore the mechanisms of social emergence: multi agent–based computer simulation. He then draws on philosophy of mind to develop an account of social emergence that raises potential problems for the methodological individualism of both social mechanis...
Article
Teaching has often been thought of as a creative performance. Although comparisons with performance were originally intended to emphasize teacher creativity, they have become associated instead with contemporary reform efforts toward scripted instruction that deny the creativity of teachers. Scripted instruction is opposed to constructivist, inquir...
Article
In Part I, the author argued for nonreductive individualism (NRI), an account of the individual-collective relation that is ontologically individualist yet rejects methodological individualism. However, because NRI is ontologically individualist, social entities and properties would seem to be only analytic constructs, and if so, they would seem to...
Article
Narrative discourse is studied by a wide range of academic disciplines, evidenced by journals such as Narrative Inquiry, Discourse Processes, and Poetics. In the social sciences, interest in narrative discourse is part of a broader linguistic and sociocultural turn in psychology and education. This interest is diverse, and includes sociocultural st...
Article
This article introduces a general sociological readership to multiagent systems (MAS), a new computer simulation technology that has increasingly been used to describe and explain sociological phenomena. The author uses the term artificial societies to refer to social simulations using MAS and he describes MAS technology and contrasts it with other...
Article
The author draws on arguments from contemporary philosophy of mind to provide an argument for sociological collectivism. This argument for nonreductive individualism accepts that only individuals exist but rejects methodological individualism. In Part I, the author presents the argument for nonreductive individualism by working through the implicat...
Article
Full-text available
Socioculturalists are divided on two of the foundational theoretical claims of the paradigm: a process ontology of the social world; and the inseparability of the individual and the group. A process ontology holds that only processes are real; entities, structures or patterns are ephemeral and do not really exist. Inseparability is the claim that t...
Article
The concept of emergence is a central thread uniting Durkheim's theoretical and empirical work, yet this aspect of Durkheim's work has been neglected. I reinterpret Durkheim in light of theories of emergence developed by contemporary philosophers of mind, and I show that Durkheim's writings prefigure many elements of these contemporary theories. Re...
Article
Over the last 30 years, the term discourse has spread throughout both the social sciences and the humanities. There is a widespread consensus that the current usage of the term 'discourse' originated with Foucault. This paper has three related goals: first, it demonstrates that the current usage of 'discourse' did not originate with Foucault, and i...
Article
Theories of emergence have had a longstanding influence on psychological thought. Emergentism rejects both reductionism and holism; emergentists are scientific materialists, and yet argue that reductionist explanation may not always be scientifically feasible. I begin by summarizing the history of emergence in psy-chology and sociology, from the mi...
Article
Many accounts of the micro-macro link use the philosophical notion of emergence to argue that collective phenomena are collaboratively created by individuals yet are not reducible to explanation in terms of individuals. However, emergence has also been invoked by methodological individualists; they accept the existence of emergent social properties...
Article
A lengthy and intensive debate about the role of sociology in agent based social simulation dominated the email list simsoc@jiscmail.ac.uk during the autumn of 2000. The debate turned on the importance of models being devised to capture the properties of whole social systems and whether those properties should determine agent behaviour or, converse...
Article
Full-text available
I was delighted to read Becker's (this issue) insightful and broad-ranging comments, especially since they touch on parallels that I've been exploring in my own work—between jazz, improvisa- tional theater, and everyday social life. Becker identifies several fruitful areas for future research, and my comments will focus on these areas and how they...
Article
In recent decades, some of the best psychological theorists have turned their attention away from the individual, to examine issues more typically associated with social theory, sociology, and anthropology. One such theoretical issue is the relationship between individual actions and social structures, a topic of debate in sociology for many decade...
Conference Paper
Emergence has been a central issue not only in computational models of social systems, but also throughout 20th century sociological theory. In this paper, I first define the key concepts of emergence, downward causation, and bi-directional causation, and I identify these processes in an example of improvised dialog. I then draw on emergentist tren...
Article
This paper is an extended exploration of Mead's phrase the emergence of the novel. I describe and characterize emergent systems-complex dynamical systems that display behavior that cannot be predicted from a full and complete description of the component units of the system. Emergence has become an influential concept in contemporary cognitive scie...
Article
Interaction and Grammar. Elinor Ochs, Emanuel A. Schegloff. and Sandra A. Thompson. eds. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1966. 468 pp.
Article
Creativity researchers have tended to neglect the creativity of performance in music, theater, and ritual. But several other disciplines have analyzed the creativity of performance, including folkloristic, ethnomusicology, and linguistic anthropology. In this article, I summarize recent developments in these and other fields and suggest how these f...
Article
This study analyzed play discourse participation frameworks in groups of different gender compositions and different age compositions, focusing on the different ways that children “voice” a pretend play role. A single, 24‐child preschool classroom containing 3‐, 4‐, and 5‐year‐olds was the object of an extended observational study; 29 hours of natu...
Article
This paper elaborates the notion of mediated action through a comparison of group improvisational performance and the product‐oriented creative domains studied by psychology. Semiotically mediated interaction is central to both forms of creativity: in group improvisation, the interaction is parallel and simultaneous, communication between performer...
Article
The abstract for this document is available on CSA Illumina.To view the Abstract, click the Abstract button above the document title.
Article
In this chapter we will present a different perspective, by expanding out from this moment in time and embedding it within the other relevant stages of the creative process. When we look at the complete “life span” of a creative insight in our subjects’ experience, the moment of insight appears as but one short flash in a complex, time-consuming, f...
Article
This article addresses the phenomenon of improvisational creativity, taking jazz performance as a prominent example within American culture. A series of interviews were conducted with professional jazz musicians. The interviews focused on creativity and jazz improvisation. Five salient characteristics of jazz improvisation, which distinguish it fro...

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