Creative Emotional Reasoning (CER) in C2Learn

Basic Definition

CER can be best understood as a core manifestation of the more comprehensive creativity framework of WHC. It is an umbrella term and refers to:

  • a principled, unifying theory of non-linear thinking techniques that foster co-creativity
  • and the theory’s implementation within C2Learn’s computational tools.

CER situated within the broader genus on Non-Linear thinking

Non-linear thinking is a rather broad genus, encompassing different types of thinking processes, connected more through family resemblances, rather than a single over-arching feature shared by all. For our purposes though, we can give a possible description as follows:

  • Thinking characterized by the use of imagination, spontaneity, flexibility, attention to intuitions, perceptions, and feelings, construction of associations, in order to arrive at an insight or understanding, relying less on reasoning that can be classified as logical/deductive.

Lateral thinking, in its original form, means thinking oriented towards solving seemingly insoluble problems, through an indirect, creative approach. The term was coined in 1967 by Edward de Bono.

CER Explained

A CER technique is a method to foster (co-)creativity by utilizing disruptors in order to open lateral paths, thus promoting deep exploration of a possibility space – under constraints – with the aim of achieving a reframing.

The creative act is an intervention that results in re-framing. Frames are everywhere, and can be loosely understood as systems of established routine, that divide the world into bounded, meaning-bearing sub-worlds. As frames depend on a notion of routine, re-framing can be understood as a disruption to an established routine.

We call the disruption of an established routine: a lateral path. More precisely a lateral path is a cognitive process that promotes deep exploration of a possibility space, whilst satisfying stated (or implicit) conditions, i.e. under constraints.

A disruptor is the basic constituent element of all CER techniques. It is an abstract notion, and can refer to any number/kind of tools that perform closely related functions, of disrupting established routines; i.e. a disruptor opens up a lateral path.

In developing CER techniques we are experimenting with disruptors primarily along 3 dimensions:

  • The kind of disruptor.
  • The method of introduction.
  • Subsequent use of the disruptor.

Konstantine Alexopoulos

University of Edinburgh, UK