Guilford’s (1968) discovery of the difference between convergent and divergent thinking abilities was an important milestone in the understanding of human intelligence. There are several types of divergent thinking abilities, one of which is the ability to make remote associations. For instance, the Consequences test (Guilford & Guilford, 1980) asks questions such as, “What would happen if people no longer needed to sleep?” Respondents would give some immediate or obvious implications and some implications that were more remote, e.g., consequences of a consequence. From the perspective of producing creative technological advances, a professional would need to make remote associations in order to evaluate the risk/reward value of various ideas, and possibly multiple forecasts for each idea (Mumford, Byrne, & Shipman, 2009; Sternberg & Lubart, 1995). Forecasts might entail identifying possible negative side effects (e.g. of a medicine), revenge effects (Tenner, 1996), in which a plausible solution to a problem actually makes the problem worse, or the disruptive effect on the status quo and the further consequences of that disruption (West & Scafetta, 2010).
Guastello, Stephen J., "Games of What If? A Test of Remote Associations" (2021). Psychology Faculty Research and Publications. 471.
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Games of What If? A Test of Remote Associations, by Stephen J. Guastello. 2021. Used with permission.