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Creative Virtual Environments: Effect of Supraliminal Priming on Team Brainstorming

Akshay Bhagwatwar Indiana University abhagwat@indiana.edu Anne Massey Indiana University amassey@indiana.edu Alan R. Dennis Indiana University ardennis@indiana.edu

Abstract
Much of human behavior involves non-conscious cognition. Research has shown that it is possible to manipulate non-conscious cognition and behavior through priming, a well-known phenomenon from cognitive psychology. 3-D Virtual Environments (VEs) have shown potential as platforms for virtual collaboration. Visually oriented, VEs represent team members as avatars. We posit that incorporating visual elements designed to improve creativity through priming in VEs can influence team-brainstorming performance. Using Open Wonderland, we developed two environments for virtual team brainstorming: one that looked like a traditional open office environment and one designed to prime team members for improved creativity. Participants worked in teams to generate ideas on a topic. Results show that when teams generated ideas in creativity primed environment, they generated significantly more ideas that were of better quality than when they worked in a neutral priming environment.

1. Introduction
Globalization and rapid technological advancements have led to widespread use of distributed virtual teams in organizations [16, 42]. A virtual team is a group of geographically dispersed people who interact through interdependent tasks guided by a common purpose with the support of communication technology [10, 48]. These virtual teams allow organizations to pool diverse expertise and perspectives regardless of where individuals are physically located [21, 33]. By leveraging this expertise and the varied perspective of employees, organizations can cultivate a creative environment that can support innovative ideas [47]. Organizations seek ways to improve efficiency, enhance knowledge capture, and more effectively manage content [47]. Idea exchange and group interaction facilitated through mechanisms like structured brainstorming have been used by organizations for decades to foster creativity and effective decision-making [54]. Owing to the advancements in Internet and technology-mediated

collaboration tools, electronic brainstorming systems have emerged as a replacement to traditional brainstorming mechanisms in organizations [23]. Organizations are exploring platforms that facilitate the team brainstorming process in ways that not only spark creativity but also keep team members engaged while they perform the task [39, 23]. Prior research in the collaboration space focuses on team performance but not much research has looked at the design of the collaboration environments, its effect on individual cognition and team performance [31, 36]. In addition, while much research has focused on cognitive demands placed on individuals by collaboration platforms [1, 36], only few studies suggest innovative techniques to influence individual cognition and team performance. 3D virtual environments (VEs) offer spaces where people can work and interact in ways closest to the real world [3]. They are enabled by simulation technologies that model or parallel the real world, thus providing a locus for interaction [42]. In a VE, participants act within a space generated by the computer. These simulated spaces can support 3D representations of objects and users (represented as avatars) [17], allowing for the generation of realistic environments. With the increasing virtual nature of their employees, organizations are interested in exploring the potential of such environments as platforms that can facilitate virtual team collaboration. Much of human behavior involves non-conscious cognition [5, 7]. Research in information systems has established that non-conscious cognition influences core information systems constructs such as behavioral intention and perceptions of ease of use [46]. This research shows the importance of non-conscious cognition in shaping our behavior when using information technology. Research in cognitive psychology has investigated the influence of priming on non-conscious cognition and the behavior of individuals in a team [5, 6]. Priming is the activation of mental representations to influence subsequent behavior [6]. Priming is induced by presenting stimuli to an individual prior to a task in an attempt to activate internal representations of certain concepts, attitudes, or beliefs [6]. Cognitive psychology studies focus on two primary ways of delivering priming subliminal (below the threshold) and supraliminal (above the threshold). We focus on supraliminal priming in which

the individual is aware of the priming stimulus, but not its purpose. Supraliminal priming can be induced in a number of ways such as use of specific words, auditory signals, and visual objects presented to the individuals in a controlled environment. In this study, we examine the influence of creativity priming implemented through the visual elements of a VE on the brainstorming performance of a team. Creativity priming is a special type of supraliminal priming in which the concept of creativity is induced through use of specific objects, which vary in their shape, color, and meaning, placed in the 3D VE. The goal of this study is to understand if such priming based 3D VEs can influence individual cognition and team brainstorming performance.

2. Prior theory
2.1 Electronic brainstorming and 3D virtual worlds
Organizational teams engage in idea generation tasks with the goal of creating innovative solutions to simple or complex problems [30]. The objective is to generate as many creative ideas as possible such that some of the ideas can be further evaluated, enhanced, and implemented [25, 30]. Overall team creativity and idea generation performance is measured as a function of idea quantity and quality [20]. Quantity of ideas can be easily measured by counting the number of ideas the team generates. However, quality of ideas is a complex measure and has been conceptualized in prior research on a number of different dimensions, such as novelty, workability, relevance, and specificity [24]. Each of these dimensions illustrates a different aspect of the overall quality of an idea [24]. Depending on the context, organizations might require a team to generate large quantity of ideas or a few high quality ideas [18]. Brainstorming has been used for many decades as an effective technique for improving team idea generation performance [29, 45]. Organizations use brainstorming sessions as an important way to develop creative ideas [54]. Electronic brainstorming involves use of technology such as e-mails, text-based chat, team support systems and/or vendor specific tools to support the brainstorming process [29]. Electronic brainstorming systems (EBS) incorporate the best features of verbal brainstorming by facilitating idea exchanges and allowing members to build on each others ideas. EBS also minimize effects of production blocking (i.e., the need to wait to take turns during verbal brainstorming) since team members are working

on their own computers and are not interrupted by anyone as they put up their ideas on the EBS [28, 45]. In addition, anonymity of team members is known to improve team idea generation performance since it allows members to express their ideas without worrying about identifying themselves [29]. Much prior research on EBS has focused on how successfully technology can facilitate social interactions and discusses whether it improves or impairs idea generation performance [31, 49]. In addition, much of the research has taken a black-box approach towards the brainstorming tools, often ignoring the design aspects of the tool and the brainstorming environment itself. Recently, studies have been conducted to understand the role of individual characteristics and cognition in team processes [34, 36]. For example, factors such as member skills, cognitive ability, as well as the EBS interface have been studied as influencers of team performance [34, 36]. Research has also looked at cognitive processes that occur in mind during idea generation. For example, the Search for Ideas in Associative Memory (SIAM) model looks at idea generation as a two-staged cognitive process - the first stage is the activation of knowledge and the second stage is the idea production in the mind [44]. In this study, we specifically focus on electronic brainstorming facilitated by the different aspects of the VEs that we discuss in the following paragraphs. VEs are defined as a synchronous, persistent network of people, represented as avatars, facilitated by networked computers [12]. Using advanced graphics, designers can create VEs that possess elements such as topography, buildings and/or landscapes, and objects such as tables or chairs. The ability of VEs to offer an awareness of space, distance and co-existence of other participants are key constituents for making VEs a platform where organizations can launch programs involving collaboration between teams of people [12]. VEs are often designed to mimic complex physical environments in real world such that individuals, through their avatar, perceive themselves to be present in the VE [34, 42]. As such, VEs offer organizations a rich mediated environment with the potential to support interactions between employees as well as with customers [42]. VEs offer a much richer communication medium than traditional and commonly used communication mechanisms like emails and instant messaging systems [42]. VEs not only provide for a visual representation of artifacts and users but also provided a convergence of media that incorporates multiple communication

channels (text, audio, and visual based) [2, 43]. VEs also provide an ability to the users to customize their own avatars. In addition, these avatars mimic many physical characteristics and interaction capabilities of the users leading to better engagement of users in the VE [2]. Avatars often are designed to perform a number of animated gestures that mimic normal human nonverbal communications [43]. Such nonverbal gestures can play a vital role in collaborative tasks that involve users helping identify and explain specic objects or locations to other users [32]. Many of the available VEs do not offer such collaboration capabilities directly. However, some VE platforms offer customized tools or objects such as notepads that integrate with the VE. Users can manipulate these using their avatar to communicate and exchange information with each other. As such, VEs replicate the look and functionalities of the real world objects to facilitate a virtual teams collaboration. In this study, we used an open source Java-based platform called Open Wonderland to create VEs to facilitate the electronic brainstorming process.

2.2 Priming, individual cognition, and team performance


Priming is the activation of internal mental representations in an attempt to influence subsequent behavior [6]. Priming through visual objects, goals, and stereotypes have been known to have an effect on individual cognition [4, 6]. Using priming induced through different types of objects or artifacts can influence the behavior, attitudes, and beliefs of individuals [6, 26]. Once an individuals mental representations have been activated, the subsequent behavior is influenced. Cognitive psychology studies focus on two primary ways of delivering priming subliminal (below the threshold of consciousness) and supraliminal (above the threshold of consciousness) [6]. In subliminal priming, the individual is exposed to the stimulus without being aware of it. In supraliminal priming, even though the individual is aware of the priming stimulus, he/she is not aware of its purpose. However, in both cases, the individual is not aware that the stimulus is activating mental representations [6]. In the human-computer interaction (HCI) domain, supraliminal priming experiments have been conducted to study individual behavior in a virtual setting [14, 15]. These studies have found supraliminal priming to influence individual behavior on subsequent tasks [15].

Prior research has studied a myriad of ways of priming individuals. For example, semantic priming, that is, priming through the use of certain words, is believed to activate the semantic networks in the brain [40]. Recent research in the electronic collaboration space builds on this belief. For example, a recent study shows that an achievement priming based computer word-game can improve a teams idea generation performance on a brainstorming task [22]. In this case, the achievement priming operates by activating the semantic networks associated with success, motivating the team members to generate as many ideas as possible on the brainstorming task. The semantic networks are distributed nodes of information in conceptual schema represented in the brain [38]. The networks began to develop as individuals interact with the world and form a basis of semantic memory that is interconnected to the previous associations of core objects, concepts or beliefs [38]. The networks are activated and brought into working memory automatically, without conscious thought, when attributes of the object concept are evoked [40]. Activation of the individuals mental representation then influences the subsequent behavior.

2.3 Creative visual workspaces


Another theoretical thread relevant to our research is the effect of visual creativity priming on team performance. In the physical workplace, creative workspaces incorporate a number of practical features that lead to creative thinking [8, 13, 19]. Prior literature has suggested that the design of the physical work environment and the artifacts present in it has positive effect on creativity [8]. Even the layout or spatial arrangement of a creative space needs to be such that it does not resemble any aspects of the typical boring desk-chair environment in offices [13]. For example, high visual complexity, that is, presence of many objects, can stimulate creativity [41]. Presence of furniture that supports social interaction and dialogue can help foster creativity [41]. Factors like presence of windows, visibility of certain natural elements like trees, flowers, and plants influence creativity directly or indirectly by affecting an individuals mood [50, 52]. For example, a high level of luminance leads to a positive mood, influences ideational fluency, and helps improve task performance [35]. Colors are also known to affect a persons mood [53]. Prior research has examined the presence of certain dominant colors in the office space and their effect on human behavior, mood, and performance [53]. Visual stimulations induced through use of

objects of varied shapes, colors, and sizes help foster creativity [27]. For example, red is known to be a stimulating color while blue is a calming color [53]. In addition, artifacts having certain meaning or context associated with them can help foster creativity [13, 37]. Workspaces in VEs can embody certain characteristics of workspaces in real world. In addition, VEs offer the capability to go much beyond the realworld workspaces to incorporate design and artifacts that could be difficult to mimic in real-world environments. As noted before, in order to incorporate the creativity aspect into the VEs, it is essential to incorporate objects, colors, themes, and features that would induce the required mood and motivation leading to creative behavior in the VE. These characteristics of the VE represent the creativity priming elements. Building on prior research, we developed the creativity priming environment in Open Wonderland such that it incorporates creativity inducing elements (i.e., plants, adequate illumination, and objects of various shapes, sizes, and colors).

correlation between quality and quantity of ideas [11]. While individual exposure is expected to increase the number of ideas generated by activating semantic networks related to ideational fluency, we also assert that activation of these semantic networks will increase the quality of ideas produced by individuals. Thus, individual exposure to a creativity prime in the VE should improve team performance by increasing the novelty, workability, and relevance of ideas that individuals generate during an electronic brainstorming task. Stated formally: H2a: Individual exposure to a creativity primed VE will increase the novelty of ideas produced by a virtual team. H2b: Individual exposure to creativity primed VE will increase the workability of ideas produced by a virtual team. H2c: Individual exposure to creativity primed virtual world will increase the relevance of ideas produced by a virtual team.

3. Hypotheses
Idea generation is an additive and creative task in which the increase in idea productivity of individual team members has a positive effect on the overall team performance [51]. Consequently, if individual team members generate more ideas and share those with the team, the total production of ideas increases [51]. Prior research has shown that human creativity is associated with semantic networks associated with ideational fluency leading to a higher number of unique ideas [9]. We argue that visual creativity priming works by activating these semantic networks. We hypothesize that individual exposure to visual creativity priming in the VE will improve the idea generation performance of a virtual team collaborating on an idea generation task. Teams will produce more unique ideas after exposure to creativity primed VE condition than when the teams are exposed to the neutral primed VE condition designed to have no effect on team performance. Stated formally: H1: Individual exposure to a creativity primed VE will increase the number of unique ideas produced by a virtual team. While number of ideas is an important measure of team performance; idea quality is also often important. We argue that intervention that increases the number of ideas is also likely to have similar effects on the quality of ideas. Prior research has established a positive

4. Method 4.1. Participants


Eighty sophomores and juniors were drawn from various business school courses and received extra credit for participating in the study. Subjects were assigned to four person teams randomly. Thus, a total of 20 teams participated in the study. The average age of the participants was 19.1 years and 62% were male.

4.2. Task
The participants performed two different idea generation tasks, each lasting 15 minutes. In one task, participants were asked to generate ideas to increase tourism within the state. In the other task, participants were asked to generate ideas to reduce pollution. Participants were instructed to generate as many ideas as possible, and build off the ideas of others in the team.

4.3. Treatments and Procedures


There were two treatments: creativity priming and neutral priming. All teams performed both treatments, with the treatment order and task order randomly assigned to the teams. In both treatments, virtual notepads were used by teams to record generated ideas.

Five notepads were offered in the VE - one more than the number of subjects, in order to have an additional notepad always available. Subjects could take control of any one notepad at a time by use of a left mouse click. The subjects then wrote their ideas on the notepad. The subjects were instructed to move from one notepad to other every five minutes during the idea generation task so that they could build on the ideas of each other. Once done working on a notepad, the subjects released the control of a notepad by left mouse clicking anywhere else in the environment. Screenshots of both the neutral priming and creativity priming environments are provided in Figures 1 and 2 respectively. As illustrated in Figure 1, the neutral priming environment was designed as a plain open office environment with no priming objects added. The environment consisted of five notepads. The creativity priming environment was the same as the neutral priming environment structurally, but differed in terms of the various priming objects incorporated into the design. The creativity priming environment also consisted of five notepads at the same locations as in the neutral priming environment. Consistent with the prior literature on creative workspaces, we designed the creativity priming environment such that it incorporated elements that would improve the team performance on the task. As illustrated in Figure 2, we incorporated objects of various colors, shapes, and sizes. We also incorporated objects of certain meaning or context and those that can help induce a creative work atmosphere in the VE. Some examples of such objects include musical instruments, aircraft models, and other objects incorporating different sizes and color. As noted previously, such objects influence human mood in a way that can induce creativity in task performance. The experiment employed a repeated-measures design. The experiment was initiated by formation of four member teams. Participants were seated in individual rooms and were given access to the Wonderland software through an Internet-connected computer located in the room. In the first phase of the experiment, the participants avatar was located in one of the priming environments, creativity or neutral, exposing them to the respective priming condition. Participants in the same team received the same priming treatment. Participants then worked with the other members of their team using the notepads in Wonderland to generate ideas on one of the tasks, either tourism or pollution. After completion of the task, the participants completed a survey asking them their gender and age. The participants were then moved to the other environment in Wonderland that exposed

them to the second priming condition. Participants then generated ideas for the second task. The participants were then debriefed and the session concluded.

4.4. Dependent measures


Team level idea generation performance, measured in four ways, was the primary dependent measure of interest. The first measure of performance was the number of ideas generated. The ideas generated on the notepads were analyzed to count the unique ideas generated by the team. Two raters independently counted the number of unique ideas generated by each team. Each rater came up with a total number of unique ideas for each of the transcripts. In total, the raters agreed on 147 of 152 unique ideas. Therefore, inter-rater reliability was 96.7 percent. We also analyzed the quality of ideas generated measured using three aspects of idea quality. While there are several different rating scales to assess idea quality, we measured it using the approach of Dean et al. [20]. We used three of their dimensions: novelty, workability, and relevance. We omitted the specificity dimension because the coding of our data was generalized to a master idea list for evaluation and thus lost specificity. The three retained measures had two sub-dimensions each. Each idea on the master idea list was rated for all six sub-dimensions. Two raters independently scored the first 25 ideas from both the tourism and pollution master idea list on each of these six sub-dimensions. A total of 300 quality ratings were obtained. The raters agreed on 284 of 300 ratings. Therefore, inter-rater reliability was established at 94.6 percent. Cronbachs alphas were obtained for each of the three dimensions based upon their two subdimensions. Novelty was comprised of originality and paradigm relatedness ( = .84), workability was comprised of acceptability and implementability ( = .82), and relevance was comprised of applicability and effectiveness ( = .76).

4.5. Analyses
All statistical analyses were completed in SPSS PASW Statistics 19.0. A repeated-measures GLM was used to examine differences between the achievement and neutral priming conditions.

5. Results
A summary of the results is provided in Table 1.

Participants produced significantly more unique ideas that scored higher on novelty, workability, and relevance following the creativity priming treatment.

5.1. Unique ideas


Hypothesis 1 was supported. Teams produced significantly more unique ideas in the creativity priming condition than the neutral priming condition (F(1,17) = 12.802, p < 0.01). The effect size was medium with Cohens d = .54. The order in which the teams were exposed to the priming conditions did not affect the number of unique ideas generated (F(1, 17) = 0.071, p = 0.793), nor did task order for the pollution and tourism task (F(1,17) = 0.118, p = .736).

5.2. Quality of ideas


Hypothesis 2a was supported. Teams produced significantly higher number of novel ideas in the creativity priming condition than the neutral priming condition (F(1, 17) = 10.28, p < 0.01). The effect size was large with Cohens d = 1. Once again, the order in which the team received the priming conditions did not affect the novelty of ideas produced (F(1, 32) = .598, p = .45), nor did the order in which they completed the pollution or tourism task (F(1, 32) = .129, p = .722). Hypothesis 2b was supported. Teams produced significantly more workable ideas in the creativity priming condition than the neutral priming condition (F(1, 17) = 7.78, p < 0.05). The effect size was medium with Cohens d = 0.67. The order in which the team received the priming conditions did not affect the workability of ideas produced (F(1, 32) = 1.072, p = .316), nor did the order in which they completed the pollution or tourism task (F(1, 32) = 1.75, p = .204). Hypothesis 2c was supported. Teams produced significantly more relevant ideas in the creativity priming condition than the neutral priming condition (F(1, 17) = 6.32, p < 0.05). The effect size was small with Cohens d = 0.41. The order in which the team received the priming conditions did not affect the relevance of ideas produced (F(1, 32) = 0.057, p = .814), nor did the order in which they completed the pollution or tourism task (F(1, 32) = 0.637, p = .437).

We found that the team produced more unique ideas that were more novel, workable, and relevant in the creativity primed environment as compared to the neutral primed environment that was designed to have no effect on team performance. The effect size of 0.54 for the creativity prime is medium. The effect size for the quality of ideas ranged from large (Cohens d = 1) for the novelty of ideas to small (Cohens d = 0.41) for the relevance of the ideas. Table 1 provides further statistical details about the quality ratings of the ideas produced by the teams. Much prior research has focused on EBS tools and their effect on team performance. Our study adds to this literature in two ways. First, we use 3D VEs as a collaboration space for virtual teams and demonstrate the use of a brainstorming tool as an effective way of facilitating team creativity in the VE. Second, we show that the design elements and objects in the VE have an effect on individual cognition and team performance. 3D VEs have emerged as effective virtual team collaboration environments with two unique qualities. First, these environments enable the team members to manipulate and interact with the various visual elements of the VE. Second, the VE also provides multiple brainstorming tools that are easily integrated into the VE. In addition, as these tools are part of the VE, the users can manipulate their appearance, size, and relative position of the tool to the avatar. This unique combination of interactivity and the feeling of immersion provided by the VE differentiate it from the traditional brainstorming tools, which are generally stand-alone computer applications. An important aspect of team collaboration and brainstorming that this study highlights is the design of the collaboration environment. While much prior research has focused on individual and group factors that affect brainstorming performance, the environment in which the brainstorming takes place is often ignored. With the increasing virtual nature of organizational work, collaboration platforms such as Open Wonderland can play a critical role in bringing virtual team members together in a space. This study illustrates that by incorporating certain artifacts into the design of the VE, individual cognition, and consequentially team performance can be affected.

6.1. Implications for research 6. Discussion


Our study provides evidence that creativity priming induced through the visual elements of a VE can improve the brainstorming performance of a team. This study has several implications for the research in the technology mediated collaboration space. We employed a specific type of priming to create a VE that would lead to better team brainstorming performance. Future research could look

at specific types of priming induced through various VE objects. Instead of being generic priming, like deployed here, future research can experiment with priming specific to the context of the task. For example, for the brainstorming task to increase tourism that was used in this study, a VE consisting of priming objects relevant to the context of tourism can be incorporated. Experiments with task specific priming environments could help develop an understanding of how such customized VEs can be employed in organizations belonging to different domains. The experimental procedure used in this study consisted of two idea generation tasks. The participants were subjected to the priming environment followed by the initiation of the idea generation task. Future research can focus on devising ways to better integrate priming into the 3D VEs such that priming occurs realtime. An integration of the priming stimulus within the flow of brainstorming activities might result into even greater effect of priming. In addition, teams would not have to spend time in getting exposed to the priming environment before initiating the brainstorming task. This study employed visual creativity priming to improve team performance on an idea generation task. Future research can focus on other team activities such as decision-making and devise ways to employ priming to facilitate or improve team decision-making. Priming could be employed to improve different aspects of decision making such as the quality of decisions made, the time required to make the decision, etc. Similarly, priming based VEs could also be used to facilitate or improve the efficiency of other team interactions including team meetings and discussions. An interesting aspect about VEs is that they are persistent, implying that the environments exist even after the conclusion of the brainstorming activity. After the end of a short brainstorming session, the VE still exists. Future research can look at ways to leverage this characteristic of the VE to create avenues for asynchronous brainstorming. Asynchronous brainstorming could help team members to be more productive since they can return to the brainstorming environment whenever they wish. The brainstorming tools, such as the notepad that we employed in this study, also persist in the VE. Future research can focus on ways to employ this asynchronous brainstorming such that the team members can use the persisting VEs to refer to the ideas generated by other team members and build on them to generate more ideas. We used a text-based brainstorming pad embedded in the 3D VE as the brainstorming tool. VEs like Second Life and Open Wonderland allow independent developers to contribute tools that can be easily

integrated with the virtual space. With rapid development of more brainstorming tools, we can expect advanced tools that could better foster virtual team collaboration. Future research can focus on a comparative analysis of such brainstorming tools that might facilitate different aspects of the brainstorming process.

6.2. Implications for practice


We believe that the results presented in this study have several practical implications for organizations. We focus on a crucial aspect of the brainstorming process, that is, the design of the brainstorming environment. Development firms that create innovative brainstorming platforms can leverage the findings of this study to influence the brainstorming environment design such that it influences individual cognition and team performance. Design firms that help other organizations create such brainstorming environments can build on the findings of this study to create various priming environments suited for particular team tasks. By integrating different 3D objects that induce a particular type of priming, these design firms would be in a better position to market their products to the intended customers. Organizations or development companies that offer 3D VEs similar to Wonderland can leverage the results of this study to develop future virtual environments that offer advanced collaboration capabilities. During the course of finding an appropriate platform for this study, we noticed that not all VEs integrate chatting systems or idea generation pads into the environments. While such features are minor addition for a virtual space, they could significantly improve team idea generation performance and collaboration capabilities. While this study used specific objects placed in the environments to induce creativity priming, organizations can think of other innovative ways of creating priming environments. For example, organizations can try inducing priming through the design of the avatar. Similarly, the design of the brainstorming tool such as the notepad that we used in this study could be manipulated to induce specific type of priming. As such, instead of inducing the priming through the environmental objects, organizations can use the brainstorming tool or the users avatar as the priming medium. Advertising firms and media agencies used various kinds of interactive web-based advertisements to market various products. These firms use various methods such as advertisements placed on social media

websites or advertisements shown before a free YouTube video. These advertisements often involve some kind of interaction between the user and the objects used in the advertisement. Such advertising firms can consider introducing specific priming artifacts into the design of their advertisement that could influence the customers perception of the marketed product. Such advertisements could also provide the customers with a richer experience while interacting with the online advertisement.

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7. Conclusion
In this study, we investigated the effect of creativity priming, induced through the objects of a 3D VE, on individual cognition and team idea generation performance. The results suggest that the teams generated more number of ideas when they worked in the creativity priming VE as compared to when they worked in the neutral priming VE. We also found that the quality of ideas, measured using the novelty, workability, and relevance parameters, was significantly better in the creativity priming VE. The effect size for the influence of creativity priming on team performance was medium (Cohens d = 0.54). The results of this study have several implications for the design of virtual spaces for team collaboration. In addition, the study opens many avenues for future research studies that can investigate (a) the use of different types of priming induced through the objects in the VE, and (b) the relationship between different types of primes and the types of task performed by teams (e.g, decision making). Organizations can explore the use of such 3D VEs for facilitating virtual team collaboration. By incorporating specific elements into the VE, organizations can achieve the desired type and level of output from the virtual teams.

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Figure 1. Screenshots of the neutral priming environment in Open Wonderland

Figure 2. Screenshots of the creativity priming environment in Open Wonderland Table 1. Means, standard deviations, and results of statistical analyses Creativity Prime Mean Std. 48.20 10.17 11.34 2.49 29.82 9.14 35.35 7.46 Neutral Prime Mean Std. 42.25 9.25 8.52 2.99 24.95 4.52 32.20 7.95

Measures Number of Unique Ideas Team Novelty Score Team Workability Score Team Relevance Score

n 20 teams 20 teams 20 teams 20 teams

F 12.80 10.28 7.78 6.32

p-value 0.004 0.007 0.03 0.04