Conceptual Blending or Conceptual Integration is a general theory of cognition. According to this theory, elements and vital relations from diverse scenarios are blended in a subconscious process known as Conceptual Blending, which is assumed to be ubiquitous to everyday thought and language.
Insights obtained from these blends constitute the products of creative thinking, though conceptual blending theory is not itself a theory of creativity, inasmuch as it does not illuminate the issue of where the inputs to a blend actually come from. Blending theory does provide a rich terminology for describing the creative products of others, but has little to say on the inspiration that serves as the starting point for each blend.
The development of this theory began in 1993 and a representative early formulation is found in their online article Conceptual Integration and Formal Expression. Scholars had identified a common pattern in creative achievements in the arts, sciences and humour that he had termed bisociation of matrices – a notion he described with many striking examples, but have not formalized in algorithmic terms.
The Conceptual Blending theory is also not formalized at the level of algorithmic detail, but its various optimality principles provide some guidance for those building computational models.