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Open Access research with a European policy impact...

The Strathprints institutional repository is a digital archive of University of Strathclyde's Open Access research outputs. Strathprints provides access to thousands of Open Access research papers by Strathclyde researchers, including by researchers from the European Policies Research Centre (EPRC).

EPRC is a leading institute in Europe for comparative research on public policy, with a particular focus on regional development policies. Spanning 30 European countries, EPRC research programmes have a strong emphasis on applied research and knowledge exchange, including the provision of policy advice to EU institutions and national and sub-national government authorities throughout Europe.

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Chance favours only the prepared mind: incubation and the delayed effects of peer collaboration

Howe, Christine and McWilliam, D. and Cross, G. (2005) Chance favours only the prepared mind: incubation and the delayed effects of peer collaboration. British Journal of Psychology, 96 (1). pp. 67-93. ISSN 0007-1269

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Abstract

Research has shown that the beneficial effects of peer collaboration are not always apparent until some time has elapsed. Such delayed effects are not readily incorporated in current models of collaborative learning, but because they constitute incubation effects in the psychological sense of the term, they should in principle be consistent with cognitive accounts of how incubation occurs. Accordingly, the paper reports three studies which test whether, in accordance with cognitive models of incubation, the delayed effects of peer collaboration could result from: (a) the breaking over time of unhelpful mental sets, (b) the engagement in post-collaborative reflective appraisal, and (c) the experience of subsequent events that, thanks to collaboration, can be used productively. The studies involved 9- to 12-year-old children working on the factors relevant to floating and sinking. The results provide no evidence for the relevance of set breaking or reflective appraisal, but suggest strongly that peer collaboration can 'prime' children to make good use of subsequent input. It is argued that in addition to clarifying how the delayed effects occur and applying incubation models in a novel context, the results flag up issues that are common to collaborative and cognitive theory, and that neither address adequately.