Creative Collaboration with the “Brain” of a Search Engine: Effects on Cognitive Stimulation and Evaluation Apprehension

Mélanie Gozzo, Michiel Koelink Woldendorp, Alwin De Rooij

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
80 Downloads (Pure)


Artificial Intelligence (AI) is rapidly becoming part of how we do creative work. This to the extent that commonly used AI-powered systems, such as search engines, are already routinely used to support our day-to-day creative tasks. However, surprisingly little is known about how creative collaboration with the “brain” of a typical search engine compares to creative collaboration with other people. We propose that exploring this requires a cognitive and a social perspective. Firstly, the output of a search engine might influence cognitive stimulation differently than human collaborative forms, i.e. the degree to which output by another inspires more and more novel associations. Secondly, evaluation apprehension, i.e. not sharing all your ideas due to a fear of being evaluated negatively, might be reduced when collaborating with such AI-powered systems due to their limited perceived social agency. Thirdly, a user’s attitude towards AI might moderate this effect, e.g., due to fears about what such systems do with the user’s data. An experiment (n = 139) was conducted where participants were instructed to collaborate with an AI powered by a search engine, or with another person, during a divergent thinking task (in reality these collaborations were scripted). The results indicated that 1) collaborating with another person increased cognitive stimulation, 2) collaborating with the AI decreased evaluation apprehension, and 3) people’s general attitude towards AI did not moderate its effect on evaluation apprehension. Herewith, the study contributes to an emerging body of work on creative collaboration with AI.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationArtsIT, Interactivity and Game Creation - Creative Heritage. New Perspectives from Media Arts and Artificial Intelligence - 10th EAI International Conference, ArtsIT 2021, Proceedings
Subtitle of host publicationArtsIT 2021: ArtsIT, Interactivity and Game Creation
EditorsMatthias Wölfel, Johannes Bernhardt, Sonja Thiel
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)9783030955304
Publication statusPublished - 10 Feb 2022
EventArtsIT, Interactivity and Game Creation 2021 - online
Duration: 2 Dec 20213 Dec 2021
Conference number: 10

Publication series

NameLecture Notes of the Institute for Computer Sciences, Social-Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering, LNICST
Volume422 LNICST
ISSN (Print)1867-8211
ISSN (Electronic)1867-822X


ConferenceArtsIT, Interactivity and Game Creation 2021
Abbreviated titleEAI ArtsIT 2021
Internet address


  • Co-creative AI
  • Cognitive stimulation
  • Creativity
  • Divergent thinking
  • Evaluation apprehension
  • Search engines


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