Project

Creativity and extended cognition

Goal: We aim at analyszing how the use of different technological tools may extend cognition, empower perfomance and boost divergent thinking. In the same framework we analyze how learning disorders are liked to peculiar thinking modalities and how is possible to emwpoer the learning abilities by the use of technological co-interactive tools.

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Project log

Claudio Lucchiari
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Il libro nasce dalla volontà di offrire riferimenti teorici e supporto pratico a tutti coloro che sono interessati alla creatività nell’ambito scolastico. Un lavoro pensato e progettato nel corso degli ultimi due anni, grazie anche al contributo e alla passione di numerosi studenti, ma che ha trovato la propria realizzazione durante la quarantena del 2020. Possiamo ben dire che la creatività sia stato un efficace antidoto cognitivo all’ansia del reale di cui quel periodo ci ha sovraccaricato. E da ciò deriva la lezione forse più importante del libro: solo sviluppando a un pensiero flessibile è possibile andare oltre i limiti del presente e imparare a guardare oltre e vedere all’orizzonte approssimarsi l’alba anche quando è ancora notte fonda. Che poi è una delle missioni della scuola.
Claudio Lucchiari
added a research item
The study aimed at assessing visitors' learning and perception using the Personal Meaning Maps methodology. The study was conducted within the course "Museum Information Systems", implemented under the Program "Applied Informatics in Arts and Humanities..." of Saint Petersburg State University according to the University requirements. Thirty-five third-year bachelors (19-22 years-old) took part in the experiment. A guided tour around the thematic multimedia exhibit "Our Romantic Emperor", dedicated to the era of Paul I, was held at the Multimedia Center of the Russian Museum. Quantitative and qualitative analysis of the collected data showed interesting results. Indeed, we can state that PMMs allow studying new knowledge of specialists in the field of Digital Humanities. Also, we observed that PMMs, used as a pedagogical tool, activates both common theoretical knowledge of learners and the students' personal experience, allowing them to gain a more complete picture of the scientific phenomenon as well as of a historical fact. Moover, PMMs allow each student to create a "baseline" as the starting step for a discussion, thus empowering knowledge by a peer-to-peer interaction as well as other significant interactions.
Claudio Lucchiari
added 4 research items
The presented performance, using an EEG-BCI (Brain Computer Interface), is dedicated to artists, scholars and experts interested in the whole world of creativity and the related psychological and neuro-cognitive mechanisms. The aims of this work are: to identify possible biomarkers (EEG) related to the creative process in specific tasks, exploring it in a real-time ecological setting; to investigate the relation between explicit and implicit mechanisms, between creativity personality trait, and semantic memory; to validate a tool to study creativeness. In a previous pilot study, we revealed the presence of significant relations between personality components, EEG indices and creative processes, suggesting that the use of a self-echo setting may be applied also to boost creativity in people with specific thinking styles and personality traits, and to empower creativity in a tailored fashion. In this paper we extended the experimentation, consolidating the previous obtained results.
Creativity, meant as the ability to produce novel, original and suitable ideas, has received increased attention by research in the last years, especially from neuroaesthetics and social neuroscience. Besides the research conducted on the neural correlates of such capacities, previous work tried to answer the question of whether it is possible to enhance creativity through cognitive and neural stimulation. In particular, transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) has been applied to increase neuronal excitability in those areas related to creativity. However, being a complex construct that applies to a huge variety of situations, available results are often confusing and inconsistent. Thus, in the present critical review, after selecting original research articles investigating creativity with tDCS, results will be reviewed and framed according to the different effects of tDCS and its underlying mechanisms, which can be defined as follows: the promotion of self-focused attention; the disruption of inhibiting mechanisms; the enhancement of creative thinking; the promotion of artistic enactment. Finally, a theoretical perspective, the creative on/off model, will be provided to integrate the reported evidence with respect to both anatomical and functional issues and propose a cognitive explanation of the emergence of creative thinking.
The goal of this experimental research was to demonstrate that creative thinking could be trained in primary school children. After asserting the difficulty to determine a unique definition of creativity – the concept fits to several fields and areas of interests – the capacity to produce numerous ideas and to think divergently was chosen as the framework within creativity as a way of thinking that can be assessed and measured. Even though creativity is challenging to define and consequently to operationalize, tests exist with the purpose to evaluate creativity levels in individuals. Starting from the Test of Child Creativity (TCI) an Italian mental reactive aimed at measuring the potential of creative thinking in individual children, a Group Creativity Assessment (gTCI) was made up with the objective to test 224 children belonging to 10 primary school classes (5 second grades and 5 third grades), achieving creativity scores of groups. The aim was to investigate whether children's attitude to think divergently would improve after participating in a creativity training made up of 10 interactive one-hour long sessions. For that reason, all the sample of children were tested in T0 before the training; afterward 8 out of the 10 classes were weekly trained, before being all 10 classes tested again in T1, 10 weeks after T0. The hypothesis was that the trained classes would have improved in creative thinking, whereas the control groups would have not. It was therefore demonstrated the efficacy of the specific technique to train creative thinking that was conceived, developed and administered to the children.
Claudio Lucchiari
added a research item
The consumption of energy drink is commonly associated with greater physical and cognitive performance. However, there are contradictory results on this issue because the influence of each single component, nor the interactions between them, is still not clear. In addition, the mechanisms underlying neuromarketing techniques and their influence on consumer behavior should be clarified, as well as their effects on cognitive and subjective variables. Thus, the purpose of this study was to investigate the effects related to marketing strategies on participants’ behavioral performance after consuming energy drinks, to highlight if and how product presentation can influence it. 17 graduated volunteers, 9 females and 8 males, participated in the research and were randomly assigned to two different groups. One group (P) received a product card with a descript ion reinforcing its positive physical effect (power, resistance...), while the other group (C) about its positive cognitive effect (concentration, memory...). Then, participants were required to perform some cognitive tasks, before and after drink consumption, to investigate the variation of cognitive abilities such as reasoning, executive functions, working memory, and verbal fluency. EEG, autonomic parameters and blinks were recorded during the experimental sessions. Also, subjects were required to complete some personality tests. Results revealed, after drink consumption, a decrease in solution time (Tower of London, TOL); an increase in Sudoku performance and an increase in numbers of blinks. Also, some effects related to personality and performance was found, such as betweenreward sensitivity and solution time.
Claudio Lucchiari
added a research item
Real and virtual are often considered terms in reciprocal opposition, but the boundaries between the two are blurred. The main goal of our study consists in answering the question whether the presence of a third dimension (3D) is a fundamental step of the virtual toward the real world, and if it causes some difference in the neural activity of the spectator [8]. Also, the possibility to consider real what is virtual will be discussed.
Claudio Lucchiari
added a research item
Negotiating skills are not part of the traditional lawyer's training. Today, however, new problem-solving skills are required of the lawyer to settle disputes consensually before trial. This article outlines the methodology for a pilot study that investigates the cooperative problem-solving skills development through neuroscientific devices that are non-invasive, portable and therefore usable in ecological contexts. The use of Brain-Computer-Interface would allow trained negotiators to explicitly develop neuro-cognitive tools, with greater interaction between intuitive and analytical thinking systems.
Claudio Lucchiari
added a research item
This paper describes an educational project conducted in a primary school in Italy (Scuola Primaria Alessandro Manzoni at Mulazzano, near to Milan). The school requested our collaboration to help improve upon the results achieved on the National Tests for Mathematics, in which students, aged 7, registered performances lower than the national average the past year. From January to June, 2016, we supported teachers, providing them with information, tools and methods to increase their pupils’ curiosity and passion for mathematics. Mixing our different experiences and competences (instructional design and gamification, information technologies and psychology) we have tried to provide a broader spectrum of parameters, tools and keys to understand how to achieve an inclusive approach that is ‘personalised’ to each student. This collaboration with teachers and students allowed us to draw interesting observations about learning styles, pointing out the negative impact that standardized processes and instruments can have on the self‐esteem and, consequently, on student performance. The goal of this programme was to find the right learning levers to intrigue and excite students in mathematical concepts and their applications. Our hypothesis is that, by considering the learning of mathematics as a continuous process, in which students develop freely through their own experiments, observations, involvement and curiosity, students can achieve improved results on the National Tests (INVALSI). This paper includes results of a survey conducted by children ‐’About Me and Mathematics‘
Claudio Lucchiari
added 2 research items
The present article presents a high-level study on creativity. From a theoretical point of view, we conceptualized cognitive framework of creativity based on the notion of balance between conscious and unconscious processes. Indeed, creativity may be considered a borderline state of mind, in which the thought seems to fluctuate in a near-consciousness state. When the idea arises to the consciousness, the mind turns back to its previous equilibrium, and divergent thinking is replaced by canonical thinking. Starting with this framework, we designed and developed an entertainment application, in which creativity is enacted by unconscious processes, but in collaboration with conscious motivation. Our aim was then to activate a new, dedicated balance between conscious and unconscious processes, in order to obtain a state of mind similar to the spontaneous creative process, but directly guided by brain activity without the intervention of verbal and semantic modulations. We developed BrainArt, which is essentially a workbench that allows users to create drawing using their own cerebral rhythms, that are then collected by a commercial BCI device. The application gave us the possibility to observe and analyze the spontaneous creative expression of the participants’ insight during an experimental session, where users created an artwork using the application. Therefore, this work presents both the BrainArt application possibility for entertainment and freedom to express individual conscious and unconscious creative insight, as well as the preliminary experimental results obtained by a combined approach of statistical, signal and behavioral analysis.
Starting from the considerations that new generations communicate and manage social relationships in a different way, thanks to the use of new media, especially Internet, we wanted to study the effects of this communication mode on a neuro-cognitive level. Many studies, especially in sociological and psychological research fields, state that traditional communication among young people is decreasing and that the excessive use of social networking and mobile devices represents a limitation to the development of communication abilities. In this chapter, we present our concept of “sympateia” and show the results of our early-stage experiments addressing our research. Progresses in Neuroscience and current Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) devices enable NeuroInformatics to deeper experiment new Human-machine communication methods and technology. Our aim is to address research efforts in finding new technologies and new IT paradigms to explore the possibility of a direct Human-Human communication mediated by technology. The chapter consists of six sections: in section one, a theoretical background of the cognitive approach to communication and empathy will be defined. In section two, it will be traced the state-of-the-art in Information Technology and Neuroscience studies in human-computer interaction. In section three IT paradigms will be presented to individuate the well-suited ones, with particular attention to AI and learning machine methods. Section four will trace the scenario and the direction of the research, while section five will present some preliminary experiments performed. Finally, in section six will discuss some final considerations and future works.
Claudio Lucchiari
added a research item
Human creativity is not just the result of a cognitive encapsulated process, but is an online process that link together thoughts, emotions and sensory events in a complex fashion. Thanks to this property, that is to the development of mental reflection, we can always (or almost always) create a context in which to give sense to the world. Art and science are clear examples. Scientific research is clearly interested in mechanisms of translating the imagination, the pure thinking into something useful to a community in a social and economic sense. In particular, the contemporary cognitive science, that is slowly abandoning its traditional stand-alone paradigms, is increasingly taking the shape of an open range where it possible to exercise a fruitful crossfertilization between different disciplines (from computer science to psychology, from art to anthropology and mathematics) that more and more speak a similar language. This new frontier is what we call the paradigm of extended cognition. The performance, presented and discussed in this paper, is aimed at artists, scholars and experts interested in the whole world of creativity and the related psychological and neuro-cognitive mechanisms. In particular, the paper aims at explaining the possible benefits deriving from the contamination of Art and Science in order to understand how the mind and brain shape our experience through the dynamics of conscious and unconscious creativity mechanisms. We aim to contaminate the traditional academic thinking with the suggestions coming from the world of contemporary art and particularly, the installation aims to introduce a discussion on the critical issue of the creativity mediated by technology and, as a counterpart, the creative mood of technology
Claudio Lucchiari
added a research item
The aims of the present work were to identify possible biomarkers (EEG) related to the creative process in specific tasks; to explore the creative process in a real-time ecological setting; to investigate the relation between explicit and implicit mechanisms during creative processes; to explore the relation between creativity and personality trait, semantic memory; to validate a useful tool to study creativeness. The task included 5 conditions to explore different “thematic domains” related to creativity, together with verbal and non-verbal components. Creative and imaginative capabilities were also assessed, together with other personality traits, in a way to explore a possible relation between all these different levels.
Claudio Lucchiari
added a research item
As stated in our previous works [1], creativity can be considered a complex cognitive process, allowing our mind to find original solutions, new perspectives, further ways to organize the incoming data to give rise to an enriched reality [2]. In Cognitive Sciences, creativity is often studied as a part of a complex problem solving process. In this work, we propose a comparison of the two processes, analyzing, through brain data, collected by a BCI (Brain Computer Interface) device, the effect on two selected individuals involved, respectively, in a creative process and in a problem-solving task
Claudio Lucchiari
added a project goal
We aim at analyszing how the use of different technological tools may extend cognition, empower perfomance and boost divergent thinking. In the same framework we analyze how learning disorders are liked to peculiar thinking modalities and how is possible to emwpoer the learning abilities by the use of technological co-interactive tools.