Gender of partner affects the interaction pattern during group creative idea generation

Exp Brain Res. 2020 May;238(5):1157-1168. doi: 10.1007/s00221-020-05799-7. Epub 2020 Mar 31.


This study aimed to determine how gender composition affects the group creative process. Participants were recruited into dyads with different gender compositions (female-male dyad, F-M; female-female, F-F; male-male, and M-M) to solve two problems. One problem demanded creativity alternative use task (AUT) and the other did not object characteristic task. Functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS)-based hyperscanning was used to record interpersonal neural responses. Results demonstrated no significant difference in creative performance among the three types of dyads. However, the F-F dyad showed higher levels of cooperative behaviour (i.e. the index of convergence) and collective flexibility than the other dyads. Also, in the fNIRS data, the F-F dyad showed higher interpersonal brain synchronization (IBS) increments in the right posterior parietal cortex during the AUT than the other dyads, which covaried with their creative performance. These findings indicate that while solving a creativity problem together, females are more likely than males to consider others' perspectives. This gender difference might be due to the enhanced IBS increment in the right posterior parietal cortex.

Keywords: Gender composition; Group creativity; Hyperscanning; IBS; fNIRS.