Knowledge recombination is a process through which distant fields of knowledge are brought together to solve complex problems and has important outcomes, such as scientific, technical, or social innovation. However, although recombination is both a cognitive and social process, there is little theoretical and empirical evidence on what happens between people while they are
creating bridges between their different and complex fields of knowledge. In this study, we draw on problem solving research and social cognition models to provide and test a model of recombination. We predict that (1) two-person teams map larger areas of the problem domain if they explore that domain using dissimilar problem models and (2) an implicit cognitive intervention can help team members integrate their diverse problem definitions. We tested these predictions in an experiment with N = 31 dyads. Our results show that dissimilar problem models lead to more comprehensive problem definitions which in turn increase solution creativity when members are primed to combine unrelated concepts. This work advances understanding of knowledge recombination processes and sets the stage for more comprehensive models.