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Dynamic modeling of cognitive stimulation: Effects of group performance support systems (GSS) on computer-mediated brainstorming performance

, Boston University, United States

Boston University . Awarded



This research investigates factors affecting group productivity on a generative task (Hollingshead & McGrath, 1995). It investigates how individual cognitive processing factors, such as short-term memory capacity, interact with group social factors, such as production blocking (Diehl & Strobe, 1987) that are known to affect the productivity of interacting groups or teams. It addresses the question: What conditions of internal and external cognitive stimulation are likely to increase the quantity of ideas generated during a group brainstorming task?

A dynamic model was constructed to represent the effects of cognitive variables on the quantity of ideas generated under three conditions: Nominal, Face-to-Face, and Electronically-Interacting groups. This model tests the differential effects of internal stimulation (such as long-term memory search) versus primarily external stimulation (such as group-generated ideas) on the total number of ideas. This is a significant outcome measure because idea quality is significantly correlated with idea quantity (Parnes, Noller, Biondi, 1977; Parnes, 1962; and Osborn, 1957).

Simulation results showed that a distribution of 30% internal cognitive stimulation and 70% external cognitive stimulation increased the likelihood of generating the greatest quantity of ideas under two of the specific conditions tested. It was concluded that when participants allocate their limited attention resources according to this distribution ratio, they are likely to increase the number of alternatives generated in nominal and electronic brainstorming groups. The distribution of stimulation had no significant effect on process losses associated with idea generation productivity in face to face groups.

The implications of these findings provide the basis for future research as follows: (a) empirical tests of simulation results in various contexts; (b) potential interaction effects between cognitive load and the rates of idea generation and recording; (c) investigation of training interventions that may help participants maintain the optimal cognitive stimulation ratio found to increase idea generation productivity; (d) comparative effects of cognitive and social factors on the productivity of synchronous and asynchronous groups; and (e) extended investigation of the effects of internal and external cognitive stimulation on specific types or quality of ideas, as well as collaborative learning task performance.


Azevedo-Carns, D. Dynamic modeling of cognitive stimulation: Effects of group performance support systems (GSS) on computer-mediated brainstorming performance. Ph.D. thesis, Boston University. Retrieved March 19, 2019 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

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