Date of Award


Access Control

Open Access

Degree Name

Creative Studies, M.S.


Center for Studies in Creativity


Dr. Cyndi Burnett

First Reader

Dr. Cyndi Burnett


Using Surprise Experiences to Increase Openness to Experience and Tolerance of Ambiguity

In the fast-changing world in which we are currently living, we constantly come across situations and problems that we have not encountered before. An open mind and the ability to tolerate ambiguity are important skills in uncertain times. People who embrace the unpredictable can develop their resilience and flexibility. Surprisologists Luna and Renninger (2015) have discovered that a great way of dipping into unpredictability is through surprise. For my Master’s Project, I designed experiences that transform people’s openness and tolerance for ambiguity through surprise. This paper begins with an extensive literature review on the three aspects that form the basis of my Master’s Project: openness to experience, tolerance of ambiguity, and surprise. It further describes the foundation and three different surprise concepts that I developed based on insights from relevant literature: diverse faces of surprise, a 30-day surprise challenge, and business surprise events. During the process of studying and developing my Master’s Project, I have deliberately immersed myself in unpredictability as a test case. I describe how I experienced the effects (positive and negative) and my learnings around being open to experience and tolerating ambiguity during the process.