Is this an example of thinking outside the box, or is this just stupidity?

A group of students are doing a dialect activity in their linguistics class. The teacher shows them pictures of items and asks the class how they would say the item. The first picture is a picture of pecans, then soda, and the third picture is a picture of cars on a highway. The teacher asks, “what is this a picture of?” Most of the students said “highway” or “freeway” but one student said “traffic”. Is that an example of creative thinking/thinking outside the box, or just plain stupidity?


Experience is a great indicator of how one will respond. If the person has had a lot of experience with busy roads, they may say "traffic". If the teacher did not specify the context, then how would this be a stupid answer. Thinking "outside the box" is a reference to problem-solving. In this situation, there is no problem-solving required, but simple identification.


Its not was a good answer.


Neither. It's a matter of context. The last student may simply have more experience with traffic than the other students. It's certainly not an incorrect answer.


There's nothing stupid about that answer. However, if you are aware of what the teacher is doing, in eliciting different pronunciations and different terms used around the country, you might figure out that the teacher is looking for the terms we use for major roads. People from New York might call it a "toll road", too. "Traffic" is the answer of someone reacting to a picture- it's neither thinking outside the box nor stupid.

Karen L

Neither. It just indicates that all people don't always perceive something the same way.


Sounds simply factual. People who have been caught in traffic with any frequency would be likely to call that traffic.