International Journal of Education and Psychological Research

(Print and Online Peer Reviewed Journal)

Print - ISSN: 2349 - 0853
e - ISSN: 2279 - 0179


(June 2021)

Identifying lateral thinkers amongst dental undergraduates through questions based on oral pathologies


Ananya Agrawala , Dr. Sanpreet Singh Sachdev , Dr. Tabita Joy Chettiankandy  , Dr. Sandhya Naik , Mohammad Nemat Sache , Megha Chauhan

Pages: 52-57


Context: Lateral thinking implies utilizing existing knowledge to generate new ideas by restructuring existing information by

using one’s own creative and logical thinking capabilities. Development of novel solutions to existing dilemmas in the field of

medical and dental sciences is need of the hour in which individuals with lateral thinking capability can play a major role. Thus,

it is imperative to identify and motivate lateral thinkers in any field of work, which is even more so applicable in the medical and

dental fields.

Materials and Methods: A self-constructed questionnaire having 5 open ended questions based on oral pathologies was

prepared via Google Forms and circulated through online social media platforms to third year undergraduate dental students.

The responses were scored and a scale was devised based on which the participant’s capability was categorized. The data was

then subjected to statistical analysis by means of Chi square test and Student t-test.

Results: 24.44% respondents potentially exhibited LT capability at least to some extent. Although statistically insignificant,

there was an evident higher percentage of male lateral thinkers in all categories except for moderate level which had greater

number of females.

Conclusion: Every field has potential lateral thinkers but without proper nurturing, motivation and encouragement of ideas,

they may encounter stagnation in the monotonous education system. Lateral thinkers are the light bearers of innovation and

research. The continuously evolving fields of dentistry and medicine warrant the integration of policies and activities that

inculcate the habit of lateral thinking in students.