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Blend of bi- +‎ association; coined by Hungarian-British author Arthur Koestler in his 1964 book The Act of Creation.


bisociation (countable and uncountable, plural bisociations)

  1. (psychology) A blending of elements drawn from two previously unrelated patterns of thought into a new pattern.
    • 1995, Mike Baxter, Product Design[1], page 68:
      Arthur Koestler's concept of bisociation was introduced in the last chapter to explain how associating two absurd or ridiculous ideas gives rise to humour. Koestler goes on to describe how bisociation may be the key to creativity.
    • 1995, Fedwa Malti-Douglas, Men, Women, and God(s): Nawal El Saadawi and Arab Feminist Poetics[2], page 167:
      In Memoirs of a Woman Doctor, images of confinement merge with family images. One of the most memorable of these bisociations is that involving the mother's "imprisonment" of the first-person narrator's hair in braids.
    • 2008, J. Nazareth, The Psychology of Military Humour, unnumbered page,
      Bisociation is the contact of two operative fields. [] The junctional concept which connects the ideas of two operative fields, is the bisociative concept, and the combination of two mental associations which are logically unrelated in bisociation.
    • 2010, Marc Segolt, Christian Borgelt, Selecting the Links in BisoNets Generated from Document Collections, Paul R. Cohen, Niall M. Adams, Michael R. Berthold (editors), Advances in Intelligent Data Analysis IX: 9th International Symposium, IDA 2010, Proceedings, Springer, LNCS 6605, page 197,
      Several famous scientific discoveries are good examples of bisociations, for instance Isaac Newton's theory of gravitation and James C. Maxwell's theory of electromagnetic waves.
    • 2014, Naresh N. Vempala, Creativity, Theories of Musical, William Forde Thompson (editor), Music in the Social and Behavioral Sciences: An Encyclopedia, page 276,
      In 1964, Arthur Koestler proposed a theory of general creativity wherein he outlined the process of bisociation and explained its importance with respect to originality. The phenomenon of bisociation involves the intermingling or bringing together of two or more unconnected matrices of thought.

Usage notes[edit]

As an abstract uncountable noun, used chiefly in the context of Koestler's theory of creativity. The concept was adopted, generalised and formalised by cognitive linguists Gilles Fauconnier and Mark Turner, who developed it into their conceptual blending theory.

See also[edit]