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There seemed to be no end to the insights that could be offered under the banner of thinking outside the box.

Even though they weren’t instructed to restrain themselves from considering such a solution, they were unable to “see” the white space beyond the square’s boundaries.Only 20 percent managed to break out of the illusory confinement and continue their lines in the white space surrounding the dots.Overnight, it seemed that creativity gurus everywhere were teaching managers how to think outside the box.Management consultants in the 1970s and 1980s even used this puzzle when making sales pitches to prospective clients.He challenged research subjects to connect all nine dots using just four straight lines without lifting their pencils from the page.

Today many people are familiar with this puzzle and its solution.

It's an interesting experiment, but the author's conclusion cannot possibly follow from the results of it.

your conclusion: that the second experiment disproves the theory that thinking outside the box is useful in solving problems, is itself a fallacy.

Most people assume that 60 percent to 90 percent of the group given the clue would solve the puzzle easily. What’s more, in statistical terms, this 5 percent improvement over the subjects of Guilford’s original study is insignificant.

In other words, the difference could easily be due to what statisticians call sampling error.

Let’s look a little more closely at these surprising results.