Wang, Lu, Runco, and Hao’s work confirms the design-related power of metaphors—a topic that’s often discussed in Research Design Connections articles. The Wang lead study “investigated whether the experience of “breaking the walls”, the embodiment of the metaphor “breaking the rules”, could enhance creative performance. . . . virtual reality technology was used to simulate the scenario where participants could “break the walls” while walking in a corridor. Participants were asked to solve the creativity-demanding problems. . . . Results showed higher . . . originality . . . in the “break” condition than in the “no-break” condition.” Study participants who broke through a virtual reality wall were more creative, when they were walking down the virtual hallway or immediately after walking down that hallway, than other participants who did break through a barrier wall. Many metaphor-based situations can be created in virtual worlds that would be challenging to develop elsewhere.
Xinyue Wang, Kelong Lu, Mark Runco, and Ning Hao. “Break the ‘Wall’ and Become Creative: Enacting Embodied Metaphors in Virtual Reality.” Consciousness and Cognition, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.concog.2018.03.004