Cognitive TheoriesSecondarySarah Marie Catalana
Cognitive TheoriesCognitive theorists emphasize both creative process and person: they focus on creative mechanisms as a basis for thought, and carefully consider the unique differences in these mechanisms. Guilford, Sternberg, Mednick, Gardner, and Ward are among the most prominent cognitive theorists. Guilford's Structure of Intellect Theory proposed 120 different kinds of cognition, and addressed the importance of both divergent and convergent thinking in creative processes. The concepts of divergent and convergent thinking are essential to the creative thinking process. Individuals must be able to think of a multitude of potential solutions to a problem (divergent thinking), as well as decide which solution is most promising and thus should be further developed (convergent thinking) (Beghetto, Kozbelt, and Runco, 2010).

What would they think of Destination Imagination?
Cognitive theorists would be interested in the cognitive basis of creative thought that occurs as Destination Imagination participants create complex "solutions" to challenges. The idea of conceptual combination-bringing two different sets of information together-is seen as essential for problem solving. Since cognitive theorists such as Estes and Ward believe that emergent properties and insights arise when two different ideas are brought together, these theorists would be particularly interested in how D.I. participants react to their team-mate's ideas. Cognitive theorists focus on the unique neural processes that occur in an individual's mind as he or she solves problems. Cognitive theorists would be interested in studying both the individual thought processes of Destination Imagination participants, and their interactions with each other.

Beghetto, R.A., Kozbelt, A., Runco, M. A., (2010). Theories of Creativity. In J. Kaufman & R. Sternberg (Eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Creativity (pp. 20-47). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.