Research on distraction in relation to scholarship and technology has significantly burgeoned in the last few years. In large part, this majority of research on distraction and attentional failure has leaned towards a negative orientation, and associated problems like diminished attentional control, hindered cognition/retention, and hampered productivity. A small body of literature, however, has suggested that multitasking and distracted behavior (attentional failure) may promote creative and original thought (Baird, Smallwood, Mrazek, Kam, Franklin, & Schooler, 2012). Another area of increasing interest in the field of education has been in the realm of creativity (Plucker, Beghetto, and Dow, 2004). There is a generally agreed upon commitment to strengthening the creativity, divergent thinking, and problem solving skills of students (Williams, 2002), now and going forward into the 21st century (Partnership for 21st Century Learning, 2007).
While the negative attributes of distraction and the positive tenants of creative thinking are seemingly oriented in a contrasting manner, we suggest that these constructs could actually complement each other. For example, divergent thinking (often associated with distracted thought) is also strongly correlated with creativity (Guilford, 1950; Runco, 1991; Cropley, 2003; Simonton, 2005). This project examines areas of connection between the previously disconnected realms of literature of attentional failure and creativity. Based on this, we aim to consider new opportunities for pedagogical application and empirical research in this area.