Wendy Ross

Research project: The role of serendipity in creative problem solving


Serendipity emerges from the interaction of the person and the environment. My research aims to use detailed video analysis to isolate moments of microserendipity and distentangle environment cues.


After completing my undergraduate degree at St Hugh's College, Oxford in languages and literature, I joined Teach First in 2004. In 2016, I started the MSc in Psychology at Kingston which I completed in 2018 with distinction winning both the Post Graduate Poster Prize and the Cohort Prize. After a year volunteering as a Research Assistant with the Developmental Psychology research group and the Systemic Cognition Lab, I started my PhD in October 2018. I am currently secretary of the Serendipity Society and senior editor of the Palgrave Encyclopedia of the Possible. 

Areas of research interest

  • Serendipity
  • Creativity
  • Interactivity
  • Cognitive Philosophy


  • BA (Hons) English and Modern Languages, St Hugh's College, Oxford
  • MSc Psychology, Kingston University


Ross, W., & Vallée-Tourangeau, F. (2020) Catch that word: interactivity, serendipity and verbal fluency in a word production task. Psychological Research

Ross, W., Vallée-Tourangeau, F. & Van Herwegen, J. (2019) Mental arithmetic and interactivity: The effect of manipulating external number representations on older children's mental arithmetic success. International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 1- 16

Ross, W., & Vallée-Tourangeau, F. (2018). For a good poet's made, as well as born: The relational ontology of Shakespeare's genius. Creativity. Theories-Research-Applications, 5, 26-40.

Book Chapters

Ross, W., Vallée-Tourangeau, F. & Gl?veanu, V. (2020) Collaboration. In M. Runco and S.Pritzker (Eds.) The Encyclopaedia of Creativity. Elsevier.

Ross, W., Smith, S. and Vistec, J.E. (in press) Collaborative Creativity. In V. Gl?veanu (Ed.) The Encyclopaedia of the Possible. Palgrave.

Ross, W. (2020). Serendipity. In V. Gl?veanu (Ed.) The Encyclopaedia of the Possible. Palgrave. 

Conference papers

Invited talks

Ross, W. (2020) Accident and sagacity (remote presentation). Schoenberg Society Seminar at Pärnu Days of Contemporary Music

Ross, W. (2019) The consequences of serendipity for real world creativity and innovation. Webster University, Geneva.

Ross, W.  (2019) Serendipity and problem solving. University of Buckingham

Conference presentations

Ross, W. (2019) Microserendipity and higher cognitive processes, The Serendipity Society Annual Conference, City University.

Ross W. & Vallée-Tourangeau, F. (2019). Microserendipity in the creative process, MIC Conference, Bologna: Marconi Institute for Creativity

Ross, W. & Vallée-Tourangeau, F. (2019).  First order problem solving and the emergence of serendipity. iCog5, Reading University

Ross, W. (2017).  Interactivity and mental arithmetic: the use of manipulatives aids addition in KS2 pupils. Systemic Cognition Symposium, Kingston University