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{{Other uses}}(File:Crystal Clear app ktip.svg|thumb|150px|A picture of a lightbulb is associated to someone having an idea, a sign of creativity.)Creativity is a phenomenon whereby something new and somehow valuable is formed. The created item may be intangible (such as an idea, a scientific theory, a musical composition, or a joke) or a physical object (such as an invention, a literary work, or a painting).Scholarly interest in creativity is found in a number of disciplines, primarily psychology, business studies, and cognitive science, but also education, technology, engineering, philosophy (particularly philosophy of science), theology, sociology, linguistics, and economics, covering the relations between creativity and general intelligence, personality type, mental and neural processes, mental health, or artificial intelligence; the potential for fostering creativity through education and training; the fostering of creativity for national economic benefit, and the application of creative resources to improve the effectiveness of teaching and learning.


The English word creativity comes from the Latin term creare "to create, make": its derivational suffixes also come from Latin. The word "create" appeared in English as early as the 14th century, notably in Chaucer, to indicate divine creationBOOK, Runco, Mark A., The Cambridge Handbook of Creativity, 2010, Cambridge University Press, 978-0-521-73025-9, Albert, Robert S., James C. Kaufman, Robert J. Sternberg, Creativity Research, (in The Parson's Tale"And eke Job saith, that in hell is no order of rule. And albeit that God hath created all things in right order, and nothing without order, but all things be ordered and numbered, yet nevertheless they that be damned be not in order, nor hold no order."). However, its modern meaning as an act of human creation did not emerge until after the Enlightenment.


In a summary of scientific research into creativity, Michael Mumford suggested: "Over the course of the last decade, however, we seem to have reached a general agreement that creativity involves the production of novel, useful products" (Mumford, 2003, p. 110),JOURNAL, Mumford, M. D., 2003, Where have we been, where are we going? Taking stock in creativity research, Creativity Research Journal, 15, 2–3, 107–120, 10.1080/10400419.2003.9651403, or, in Robert Sternberg's words, the production of "something original and worthwhile".BOOK, Sternberg, Robert J., Cognitive Psychology, 2011, Cengage Learning, 978-1-133-38701-5, 479, 6, Creativity, Authors have diverged dramatically in their precise definitions beyond these general commonalities: Peter Meusburger reckons that over a hundred different analyses can be found in the literature.BOOK, Meusburger, Peter, Milieus of Creativity: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Spatiality of Creativity, 2009, Springer, 978-1-4020-9876-5, Meusburger, P., Funke, J., Wunder, E., Milieus of Creativity: The Role of Places, Environments and Spatial Contexts, As an illustration, one definition given by Dr. E. Paul Torrance described it as "a process of becoming sensitive to problems, deficiencies, gaps in knowledge, missing elements, disharmonies, and so on; identifying the difficulty; searching for solutions, making guesses, or formulating hypotheses about the deficiencies: testing and retesting these hypotheses and possibly modifying and retesting them; and finally communicating the results."BOOK, Torrance, Paul, The Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking-Norms-Technical Manual Research Edition, Personnel Press, Princeton, New Jersey, 6, Verbal Tests. Forms A and B-Figural Tests, Forms A and B., Creativity in general is usually distinguished from innovation in particularWEB,weblink The Fundamental Differences Between Creativity And Innovation, Pallister, Bradley, 2019-01-03, Innovolo Ltd, en-GB, 2019-11-18, , where the stress is on implementation. For example, Teresa Amabile and Pratt (2016) defines creativity as production of novel and useful ideas and innovation as implementation of creative ideas,JOURNAL, Amabile, Teresa M., Pratt, Michael G., The dynamic componential model of creativity and innovation in organizations: Making progress, making meaning, Research in Organizational Behavior, 2016, 36, 157–183, 10.1016/j.riob.2016.10.001, while the OECD and Eurostat state that "Innovation is more than a new idea or an invention. An innovation requires implementation, either by being put into active use or by being made available for use by other parties, firms, individuals or organisations."BOOK, OECD/Eurostat, Oslo Manual 2018: Guidelines for Collecting, Reporting and Using Data on Innovation, 2018, OECD/Eurostat, Paris/Luxembourg, 44, 4th,weblink


Theories of creativity (particularly investigation of why some people are more creative than others) have focused on a variety of aspects. The dominant factors are usually identified as "the four Ps" — process, product, person, and place (according to Mel Rhodes).JOURNAL, 20342603, An Analysis of Creativity, The Phi Delta Kappan, 42, 7, 305–310, Rhodes, Mel, 1961, A focus on process is shown in cognitive approaches that try to describe thought mechanisms and techniques for creative thinking. Theories invoking divergent rather than convergent thinking (such as Guilford), or those describing the staging of the creative process (such as Wallas) are primarily theories of creative process. A focus on creative product usually appears in attempts to measure creativity (psychometrics, see below) and in creative ideas framed as successful memes.JOURNAL, Liane Gabora, Gabora, Liane, 1997, The Origin and Evolution of Culture and Creativity, Journal of Memetics – Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission, 1,weblink The psychometric approach to creativity reveals that it also involves the ability to produce more.BOOK, Sternberg, Robert J., Cognitive Psychology, 2009, CENGAGE Learning, 978-0-495-50629-4, 468, Jaime A. Perkins, Dan Moneypenny, Wilson Co, A focus on the nature of the creative person considers more general intellectual habits, such as openness, levels of ideation, autonomy, expertise, exploratory behavior, and so on. A focus on place considers the circumstances in which creativity flourishes, such as degrees of autonomy, access to resources, and the nature of gatekeepers. Creative lifestyles are characterized by nonconforming attitudes and behaviors as well as flexibility.

Conceptual history

File:Plato-raphael.jpg|thumb|150px|right|Greek philosophers like Plato rejected the concept of creativity, preferring to see art as a form of discovery. Asked in The Republic, "Will we say, of a painter, that he makes something?", Plato answers, "Certainly not, he merely imitates."(Władysław Tatarkiewicz]], A History of Six Ideas: an Essay in Aesthetics, p. 244.)


Most ancient cultures, including thinkers of Ancient Greece, Ancient China, and Ancient India,BOOK, Albert, R. S., Runco, M. A., 1999, Sternberg, R. J., Handbook of Creativity, Cambridge University Press, :A History of Research on Creativity, lacked the concept of creativity, seeing art as a form of discovery and not creation. The ancient Greeks had no terms corresponding to "to create" or "creator" except for the expression "poiein" ("to make"), which only applied to poiesis (poetry) and to the poietes (poet, or "maker") who made it. Plato did not believe in art as a form of creation. Asked in The Republic,Plato, The Republic, Book X – (wikisource:The Republic/Book X) "Will we say, of a painter, that he makes something?", he answers, "Certainly not, he merely imitates."It is commonly argued that the notion of "creativity" originated in Western culture through Christianity, as a matter of divine inspiration. According to the historian Daniel J. Boorstin, "the early Western conception of creativity was the Biblical story of creation given in the Genesis."BOOK, Albert, R. S., Runco, M. A., 1999, Sternberg, R. J., Handbook of Creativity, Cambridge University Press, :A History of Research on Creativity, 5, However, this is not creativity in the modern sense, which did not arise until the Renaissance. In the Judaeo-Christian tradition, creativity was the sole province of God; humans were not considered to have the ability to create something new except as an expression of God's work.JOURNAL, 10.1037/h0091265, Niu, Weihua, Sternberg, Robert J., The Philosophical Roots of Western and Eastern Conceptions of Creativity, Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology, 2006, 26, 1–2, 18–38,weblink 23 October 2010, dead,weblink 18 December 2011, ; cf. Michel Weber, "Creativity, Efficacy and Vision: Ethics and Psychology in an Open Universe," in Michel Weber and Pierfrancesco Basile (eds.), Subjectivity, Process, and Rationality, Frankfurt/Lancaster, ontos verlag, Process Thought XIV, 2006, pp. 263-281. A concept similar to that of Christianity existed in Greek culture, for instance, Muses were seen as mediating inspiration from the Gods.BOOK, Dacey, John, Encyclopedia of Creativity, Vol. 1, 1999, 978-0-12-227076-5, Mark A. Runco, Steven R. Pritzer, Concepts of Creativity: A history, Elsevier, Romans and Greeks invoked the concept of an external creative "daemon" (Greek) or "genius" (Latin), linked to the sacred or the divine. However, none of these views are similar to the modern concept of creativity, and the individual was not seen as the cause of creation until the Renaissance.BOOK, Albert, R. S., Runco, M. A., 1999, Sternberg, R. J., Handbook of Creativity, Cambridge University Press, :A History of Research on Creativity, 6, It was during the Renaissance that creativity was first seen, not as a conduit for the divine, but from the abilities of "great men".


The rejection of creativity in favor of discovery and the belief that individual creation was a conduit of the divine would dominate the West probably until the Renaissance and even later. The development of the modern concept of creativity begins in the Renaissance, when creation began to be perceived as having originated from the abilities of the individual, and not God. This could be attributed to the leading intellectual movement of the time, aptly named humanism, which developed an intensely human-centric outlook on the world, valuing the intellect and achievement of the individual.WEB, Humanism - Rome Reborn: The Vatican Library & Renaissance Culture {{!, Exhibitions - Library of Congress|url =weblink|website =|date = 1993-01-08|accessdate = 2015-11-23}} From this philosophy arose the Renaissance man (or polymath), an individual who embodies the principals of humanism in their ceaseless courtship with knowledge and creation.WEB, Leonardo da Vinci {{!, Italian artist, engineer, and scientist|url =weblink|website = Encyclopædia Britannica|accessdate = 2015-11-23}} One of the most well-known and immensely accomplished examples is Leonardo da Vinci.However, this shift was gradual and would not become immediately apparent until the Enlightenment. By the 18th century and the Age of Enlightenment, mention of creativity (notably in aesthetics), linked with the concept of imagination, became more frequent.BOOK, Tatarkiewicz, Władysław, Władysław Tatarkiewicz, A History of Six Ideas: an Essay in Aesthetics, Translated from the Polish by Christopher Kasparek, The Hague, Martinus Nijhoff, 1980, In the writing of Thomas Hobbes, imagination became a key element of human cognition; William Duff was one of the first to identify imagination as a quality of genius, typifying the separation being made between talent (productive, but breaking no new ground) and genius.As a direct and independent topic of study, creativity effectively received no attention until the 19th century. Runco and Albert argue that creativity as the subject of proper study began seriously to emerge in the late 19th century with the increased interest in individual differences inspired by the arrival of Darwinism. In particular, they refer to the work of Francis Galton, who through his eugenicist outlook took a keen interest in the heritability of intelligence, with creativity taken as an aspect of genius.In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, leading mathematicians and scientists such as Hermann von Helmholtz (1896) and Henri Poincaré (1908) began to reflect on and publicly discuss their creative processes.


The insights of Poincaré and von Helmholtz were built on in early accounts of the creative process by pioneering theorists such as Graham WallasBOOK, Wallas, G., Art of Thought, 1926, Graham Wallas, and Max Wertheimer. In his work Art of Thought, published in 1926, Wallas presented one of the first models of the creative process. In the Wallas stage model, creative insights and illuminations may be explained by a process consisting of 5 stages:
(i) preparation (preparatory work on a problem that focuses the individual's mind on the problem and explores the problem's dimensions), (ii) incubation (where the problem is internalized into the unconscious mind and nothing appears externally to be happening), (iii) intimation (the creative person gets a "feeling" that a solution is on its way), (iv) illumination or insight (where the creative idea bursts forth from its preconscious processing into conscious awareness); (v) verification (where the idea is consciously verified, elaborated, and then applied).
Wallas' model is often treated as four stages, with "intimation" seen as a sub-stage.Wallas considered creativity to be a legacy of the evolutionary process, which allowed humans to quickly adapt to rapidly changing environments. SimontonBOOK, Simonton, D. K., 1999, Origins of genius: Darwinian perspectives on creativity,weblink registration, Oxford University Press, provides an updated perspective on this view in his book, Origins of genius: Darwinian perspectives on creativity.In 1927, Alfred North Whitehead gave the Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh, later published as Process and Reality.BOOK, Whitehead, Alfred North, Process and reality : an essay in cosmology ; Gifford Lectures delivered in the University of Edinburgh during the session 1927–28, 1978, Free Press, New York, 978-0-02-934580-1, Corrected,weblink He is credited with having coined the term "creativity" to serve as the ultimate category of his metaphysical scheme: "Whitehead actually coined the term – our term, still the preferred currency of exchange among literature, science, and the arts. . . a term that quickly became so popular, so omnipresent, that its invention within living memory, and by Alfred North Whitehead of all people, quickly became occluded".JOURNAL, Meyer, Steven, Introduction: Whitehead Now, Configurations, 2005, 1, 13, 1–33, 10.1353/con.2007.0010, . Cf. Michel Weber and Will Desmond (eds.). Handbook of Whiteheadian Process Thought (Frankfurt / Lancaster, Ontos Verlag, Process Thought X1 & X2, 2008) and Ronny Desmet & Michel Weber (edited by), Whitehead. The Algebra of Metaphysics. Applied Process Metaphysics Summer Institute Memorandum, Louvain-la-Neuve, Les Éditions Chromatika, 2010.Although psychometric studies of creativity had been conducted by The London School of Psychology as early as 1927 with the work of H. L. Hargreaves into the Faculty of Imagination,JOURNAL, Hargreaves, H. L., 1927, The faculty of imagination: An enquiry concerning the existence of a general faculty, or group factor, of imagination, British Journal of Psychology, Monograph Supplement 3, 1–74, the formal psychometric measurement of creativity, from the standpoint of orthodox psychological literature, is usually considered to have begun with J. P. Guilford's address to the American Psychological Association in 1950.BOOK, Sternberg, R. J., Lubart, T. I., The Concept of Creativity: Prospects and Paradigms, Sternberg, R. J., Handbook of Creativity, 1999, Cambridge University Press, Robert Sternberg, 978-0-521-57285-9, The address helped to popularize the study of creativity and to focus attention on scientific approaches to conceptualizing creativity. Statistical analyses led to the recognition of creativity (as measured) as a separate aspect of human cognition to IQ-type intelligence, into which it had previously been subsumed. Guilford's work suggested that above a threshold level of IQ, the relationship between creativity and classically measured intelligence broke down.BOOK, Kozbelt, Aaron, The Cambridge Handbook of Creativity, 2010, Cambridge University Press, 978-0-521-73025-9, Beghetto, Ronald A., Runco, Mark A., James C. Kaufman, Robert J. Sternberg, Theories of Creativity,

"Four C" model

James C. Kaufman and Beghetto introduced a "four C" model of creativity; mini-c ("transformative learning" involving "personally meaningful interpretations of experiences, actions, and insights"), little-c (everyday problem solving and creative expression), Pro-C (exhibited by people who are professionally or vocationally creative though not necessarily eminent) and Big-C (creativity considered great in the given field). This model was intended to help accommodate models and theories of creativity that stressed competence as an essential component and the historical transformation of a creative domain as the highest mark of creativity. It also, the authors argued, made a useful framework for analyzing creative processes in individuals.JOURNAL, 10.1037/a0013688, Kaufman, James C., Beghetto, Ronald A., Beyond Big and Little: The Four C Model of Creativity, Review of General Psychology, 2009, 13, 1, 1–12, James C. Kaufman, The contrast of terms "Big C" and "Little c" has been widely used. Kozbelt, Beghetto and Runco use a little-c/Big-C model to review major theories of creativity. Margaret Boden distinguishes between h-creativity (historical) and p-creativity (personal).BOOK, Boden, Margaret, The Creative Mind: Myths And Mechanisms, 2004, Routledge, 978-0-297-82069-7, RobinsonBOOK, Robinson, Ken, All our futures: Creativity, culture, education, 1998, National Advisory Committee on Creative and Cultural Education,weblink 2 October 2010, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 16 October 2014, and Anna Craft have focused on creativity in a general population, particularly with respect to education. Craft makes a similar distinction between "high" and "little c" creativity.BOOK, Craft, Anna, Creativity in education, 2001, Continuum International, 978-0-8264-4863-7, Craft, A., Jeffrey, B., Leibling, M., 'Little C' creativity, and cites Ken Robinson as referring to "high" and "democratic" creativity. Mihaly CsikszentmihalyiBOOK, Csíkszentmihályi, Mihály, Creativity:Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention, 1996, Harper Collins, 978-0-06-092820-9, has defined creativity in terms of those individuals judged to have made significant creative, perhaps domain-changing contributions. Simonton has analysed the career trajectories of eminent creative people in order to map patterns and predictors of creative productivity.JOURNAL, 10.1037/0033-295X.104.1.66, Simonton, D. K., Creative Productivity: A Predictive and Explanatory Model of Career Trajectories and Landmarks, Psychological Review, 1997, 104, 1, 66–89,

Process theories

There has been much empirical study in psychology and cognitive science of the processes through which creativity occurs. Interpretation of the results of these studies has led to several possible explanations of the sources and methods of creativity.


Incubation is a temporary break from creative problem solving that can result in insight.BOOK, Smith, S. M., Encyclopedia of Creativity Volume I, 2011, Academic Press, 978-0-12-375039-6, 653–657, 2nd, M. A. Runco, S. R. Pritzker, Incubation, There has been some empirical research looking at whether, as the concept of "incubation" in Wallas' model implies, a period of interruption or rest from a problem may aid creative problem-solving. WardBOOK, Ward, T., 2003, Creativity, Nagel, L., Encyclopaedia of Cognition, New York, Macmillan, lists various hypotheses that have been advanced to explain why incubation may aid creative problem-solving, and notes how some empirical evidence is consistent with the hypothesis that incubation aids creative problem in that it enables "forgetting" of misleading clues. Absence of incubation may lead the problem solver to become fixated on inappropriate strategies of solving the problem.BOOK, Smith, Steven M., The Creative Cognition Approach, 1995, MIT Press, Steven M. Smith, Thomas B. Ward, Ronald A. Finke, Fixation, Incubation, and Insight in Memory and Creative Thinking, This work disputes the earlier hypothesis that creative solutions to problems arise mysteriously from the unconscious mind while the conscious mind is occupied on other tasks."BOOK, Anderson, J. R., 2000, Cognitive psychology and its implications, Worth Publishers, 978-0-7167-1686-0,weblink This earlier hypothesis is discussed in Csikszentmihalyi's five phase model of the creative process which describes incubation as a time that your unconscious takes over. This allows for unique connections to be made without our consciousness trying to make logical order out of the problem.Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly (1996). Creativity : Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention. New York: Harper Perennial. {{ISBN|0-06-092820-4}}

Convergent and divergent thinking

J. P. GuilfordBOOK, Guilford, J. P., 1967, The Nature of Human Intelligence, J. P. Guilford, drew a distinction between convergent and divergent production (commonly renamed convergent and divergent thinking). Convergent thinking involves aiming for a single, correct solution to a problem, whereas divergent thinking involves creative generation of multiple answers to a set problem. Divergent thinking is sometimes used as a synonym for creativity in psychology literature. Other researchers have occasionally used the terms flexible thinking or fluid intelligence, which are roughly similar to (but not synonymous with) creativity.JOURNAL, 2019, THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN INDIVIDUAL CREATIVITY ANDCOLLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE IN MODERN CHINESE SOCIETY, Knowledge Cultures, 7, 2, 35, 10.22381/kc7220197, 2327-5731,

Creative cognition approach

In 1992, Finke et al. proposed the "Geneplore" model, in which creativity takes place in two phases: a generative phase, where an individual constructs mental representations called preinventive structures, and an exploratory phase where those structures are used to come up with creative ideas. Some evidence shows that when people use their imagination to develop new ideas, those ideas are heavily structured in predictable ways by the properties of existing categories and concepts.Ward, T.B. (1995). What’s old about new ideas. In S. M. Smith, T. B. Ward & R. A. & Finke (Eds.) The creative cognition approach, 157–178, London: MIT Press. WeisbergBOOK, Weisberg, R. W., 1993, Creativity: Beyond the myth of genius, Freeman, 978-0-7167-2119-2, argued, by contrast, that creativity only involves ordinary cognitive processes yielding extraordinary results.

The Explicit–Implicit Interaction (EII) theory

Helie and SunJOURNAL, Helie S., Sun R., 2010, Incubation, insight, and creative problem solving: A unified theory and a connectionist model, Psychological Review, 117, 3, 994–1024, 10.1037/a0019532, 20658861,, more recently proposed a unified framework for understanding creativity in problem solving, namely the Explicit–Implicit Interaction (EII) theory of creativity. This new theory constitutes an attempt at providing a more unified explanation of relevant phenomena (in part by reinterpreting/integrating various fragmentary existing theories of incubation and insight).The EII theory relies mainly on five basic principles, namely:
  1. The co-existence of and the difference between explicit and implicit knowledge;
  2. The simultaneous involvement of implicit and explicit processes in most tasks;
  3. The redundant representation of explicit and implicit knowledge;
  4. The integration of the results of explicit and implicit processing;
  5. The iterative (and possibly bidirectional) processing.
A computational implementation of the theory was developed based on the CLARION cognitive architecture and used to simulate relevant human data. This work represents an initial step in the development of process-based theories of creativity encompassing incubation, insight, and various other related phenomena.

Conceptual blending

In The Act of Creation, Arthur Koestler introduced the concept of bisociation — that creativity arises as a result of the intersection of two quite different frames of reference.BOOK, Koestler, A., The Act of Creation, 1964, Arthur Koestler, 978-0-330-73116-4, Pan Books, London, This idea was later developed into conceptual blending. In the 1990s, various approaches in cognitive science that dealt with metaphor, analogy, and structure mapping have been converging, and a new integrative approach to the study of creativity in science, art and humor has emerged under the label conceptual blending.

Honing theory

Honing theory, developed principally by psychologist Liane Gabora, posits that creativity arises due to the self-organizing, self-mending nature of a worldview. The creative process is a way in which the individual hones (and re-hones) an integrated worldview. Honing theory places emphasis not only on the externally visible creative outcome but also the internal cognitive restructuring and repair of the worldview brought about by the creative process. When faced with a creatively demanding task, there is an interaction between the conception of the task and the worldview. The conception of the task changes through interaction with the worldview, and the worldview changes through interaction with the task. This interaction is reiterated until the task is complete, at which point not only is the task conceived of differently, but the worldview is subtly or drastically transformed as it follows the natural tendency of a worldview to attempt to resolve dissonance and seek internal consistency amongst its components, whether they be ideas, attitudes, or bits of knowledge.A central feature of honing theory is the notion of a potentiality state.Gabora, L. & Saab, A. (2011). Creative interference and states of potentiality in analogy problem solving. Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society. July 20–23, 2011, Boston MA. Honing theory posits that creative thought proceeds not by searching through and randomly ‘mutating’ predefined possibilities, but by drawing upon associations that exist due to overlap in the distributed neural cell assemblies that participate in the encoding of experiences in memory. Midway through the creative process one may have made associations between the current task and previous experiences, but not yet disambiguated which aspects of those previous experiences are relevant to the current task. Thus the creative idea may feel ‘half-baked’. It is at that point that it can be said to be in a potentiality state, because how it will actualize depends on the different internally or externally generated contexts it interacts with.Honing theory is held to explain certain phenomena not dealt with by other theories of creativity, for example, how different works by the same creator are observed in studies to exhibit a recognizable style or 'voice' even though in different creative outlets. This is not predicted by theories of creativity that emphasize chance processes or the accumulation of expertise, but it is predicted by honing theory, according to which personal style reflects the creator's uniquely structured worldview. Another example is in the environmental stimulus for creativity. Creativity is commonly considered to be fostered by a supportive, nurturing, trustworthy environment conducive to self-actualization. However, research shows that creativity is also associated with childhood adversity, which would stimulate honing.

Everyday imaginative thought

In everyday thought, people often spontaneously imagine alternatives to reality when they think "if only...".Roese, N. J. & Olson, J. M. (1995). What Might Have Been: The Social Psychology of Counterfactual Thinking. Mahwah, New Jersey: Erlbaum Their counterfactual thinking is viewed as an example of everyday creative processes.Markman, K. Klein, W. & Suhr, E. (eds) (2009). Handbook of mental simulation and the human imagination. Hove, Psychology Press It has been proposed that the creation of counterfactual alternatives to reality depends on similar cognitive processes to rational thought.Byrne, R. M. J. (2005). The Rational Imagination: How People Create Counterfactual Alternatives to Reality. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Personal assessment

Creativity quotient

There was a creativity quotient developed similar to the intelligence quotient (IQ). It makes use of the results of divergent thinking tests (see below) by processing them further. It gives more weight to ideas that are radically different from other ideas in the response.JOURNAL, Snyder, Allan, 2004, The creativity quotient: An objective scoring of ideational fluency, Creativity Research Journal, 16, 4, 415–419, 10.1080/10400410409534552,

Psychometric approach

J. P. Guilford's group, which pioneered the modern psychometric study of creativity, constructed several tests to measure creativity in 1967:
  • Plot Titles, where participants are given the plot of a story and asked to write original titles.
  • Quick Responses is a word-association test scored for uncommonness.
  • Figure Concepts, where participants were given simple drawings of objects and individuals and asked to find qualities or features that are common by two or more drawings; these were scored for uncommonness.
  • Unusual Uses is finding unusual uses for common everyday objects such as bricks.
  • Remote Associations, where participants are asked to find a word between two given words (e.g. Hand _____ Call)
  • Remote Consequences, where participants are asked to generate a list of consequences of unexpected events (e.g. loss of gravity)
Originally, Guilford was trying to create a model for intellect as a whole, but in doing so also created a model for creativity. Guilford made an important assumption for creative research: creativity isn't one abstract concept.  The idea that creativity is a category rather than one single concept opened up the ability for other researchers to look at creativity with a whole new perspective.JOURNAL, Sternberg, Robert J., Grigorenko, Elena L., 8 June 2010, Guilford's Structure of Intellect Model and Model of Creativity: Contributions and Limitations, Creativity Research Journal, 13, 3–4, 309–316, 10.1207/s15326934crj1334_08, 1040-0419, JOURNAL, Guilford, J. P., 1957, Creative abilities in the arts., Psychological Review, en, 64, 2, 110–118, 10.1037/h0048280, 1939-1471, Additionally, Guilford hypothesized one of the first models for the components of creativity.  He explained that creativity was a result of having:
  1. Sensitivity to problems, or the ability to recognize problems;
  2. Fluency, which encompasses
  3. : a. Ideational fluency, or the ability rapidly to produce a variety of ideas that fulfill stated requirements;
  4. : b. Associational fluency, or the ability to generate a list of words, each of which is associated with a given word;                    
  5. : c. Expressional fluency, or the ability to organize words into larger units, such as phrases, sentences, and paragraphs;
  6. Flexibility, which encompasses                      
  7. : a. Spontaneous flexibility, or the ability to demonstrate flexibility;                          
  8. : b. Adaptive flexibility, or the ability to produce responses that are novel and high in quality.
This represents the base model by which several researchers would take and alter to produce their new theories of creativity years later. Building on Guilford's work, Torrance(Torrance, 1974) developed the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking in 1966.JOURNAL,weblink Can We Trust Creativity Tests?, Kim, Kyung Hee, 2006, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 18, They involved simple tests of divergent thinking and other problem-solving skills, which were scored on:
  • Fluency – The total number of interpretable, meaningful, and relevant ideas generated in response to the stimulus.
  • Originality – The statistical rarity of the responses among the test subjects.
  • Elaboration – The amount of detail in the responses.
Such tests, sometimes called Divergent Thinking (DT) tests have been both supportedJOURNAL, Kim, K. H., 10.1207/s15326934crj1801_2, Can We Trust Creativity Tests? A Review of the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking (TTCT), Creativity Research Journal, 18, 3–14, 2006, and criticized.JOURNAL, Zeng, L., Proctor, R. W., Salvendy, G., Can Traditional Divergent Thinking Tests Be Trusted in Measuring and Predicting Real-World Creativity?, 10.1080/10400419.2011.545713, Creativity Research Journal, 23, 24–37, 2011, Considerable progress has been made in automated scoring of divergent thinking tests using semantic approach. When compared to human raters, NLP techniques were shown to be reliable and valid in scoring the originality.Forster, E. A., & Dunbar, K. N. (2009). Creativity evaluation through latent semantic analysis. In Proceedings of the 31st Annual meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 602–607).Harbison, I. J., & Haarmann, H. (2014). Automated scoring of originality using semantic representations. In Proceedings of the 36th Annual meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (poster paper). The reported computer programs were able to achieve a correlation of 0.60 and 0.72 respectively to human graders.Semantic networks were also used to devise originality scores that yielded significant correlations with socio-personal measures.JOURNAL, Acar, S., Runco, M. A., 2014, Assessing associative distance among ideas elicited by tests of Divergent Thinking, Creativity Research Journal, 26, 2, 229–238, 10.1080/10400419.2014.901095, Most recently, an NSF-fundedNSF SBIR Grant Number 1315053. team of researchers led by James C. Kaufman and Mark A. RuncoOther members include Kenes Beketayev PhD Computer Science; Liberty Lidz, PhD Linguistics; Perman Gochyyev, PhD Statistics combined expertise in creativity research, natural language processing, computational linguistics, and statistical data analysis to devise a scalable system for computerized automated testing (SparcIt Creativity Index Testing system). This system enabled automated scoring of DT tests that is reliable, objective, and scalable, thus addressing most of the issues of DT tests that had been found and reported. The resultant computer system was able to achieve a correlation of 0.73 to human graders.JOURNAL, Beketayev, K., Runco, M. A., 2016, Scoring Divergent Thinking Tests by Computer With a Semantics-Based Algorithm, Europe's Journal of Psychology, 12, 2, 210–220, 10.5964/ejop.v12i2.1127, 27298632, 4894287,

Social-personality approach

Some researchers have taken a social-personality approach to the measurement of creativity. In these studies, personality traits such as independence of judgement, self-confidence, attraction to complexity, aesthetic orientation, and risk-taking are used as measures of the creativity of individuals. A meta-analysis by Gregory Feist showed that creative people tend to be "more open to new experiences, less conventional and less conscientious, more self-confident, self-accepting, driven, ambitious, dominant, hostile, and impulsive." Openness, conscientiousness, self-acceptance, hostility, and impulsivity had the strongest effects of the traits listed. Within the framework of the Big Five model of personality, some consistent traits have emerged.JOURNAL, Batey, M., Furnham, A., 2006, Creativity, intelligence and personality: A critical review of the scattered literature, Genetic, Social, and General Psychology Monographs, 132, 4, 355–429, 10.3200/mono.132.4.355-430, Openness to experience has been shown to be consistently related to a whole host of different assessments of creativity.JOURNAL, Batey, M., Furnham, A. F., Safiullina, X., 2010, Intelligence, General Knowledge and Personality as Predictors of Creativity, Learning and Individual Differences, 20, 5, 532–535, 10.1016/j.lindif.2010.04.008, Among the other Big Five traits, research has demonstrated subtle differences between different domains of creativity. Compared to non-artists, artists tend to have higher levels of openness to experience and lower levels of conscientiousness, while scientists are more open to experience, conscientious, and higher in the confidence-dominance facets of extraversion compared to non-scientists.JOURNAL, Feist, G. J., 1998, A meta-analysis of the impact of personality on scientific and artistic creativity, Personality and Social Psychological Review, 2, 4, 290–309, 10.1207/s15327957pspr0204_5, 15647135,

Self-report questionnaires

An alternative is using biographical methods. These methods use quantitative characteristics such as the number of publications, patents, or performances of a work. While this method was originally developed for highly creative personalities, today it is also available as self-report questionnaires supplemented with frequent, less outstanding creative behaviors such as writing a short story or creating your own recipes. For example, the Creative Achievement Questionnaire, a self-report test that measures creative achievement across 10 domains, was described in 2005 and shown to be reliable and valid when compared to other measures of creativity and to independent evaluation of creative output.(Carson, 2005) Besides the English original, it was also used in a Chinese,JOURNAL, Ying-Yao, Wang, Chia-Chi{{!, Ho, Hsiao-Chi{{!}}Cheng, Chih-Ling{{!}}Cheng|date=2014|title=Application of the Rasch Model to the Measurement of Creativity: The Creative Achievement Questionnaire.|url=|journal=Creativity Research Journal|volume=26|issue=1|issn=1040-0419}} French,JOURNAL, Bendetowicz, David, Urbanski, Marika, Aichelburg, Clarisse, Levy, Richard, Volle, Emmanuelle, January 2017, Brain morphometry predicts individual creative potential and the ability to combine remote ideas, Cortex, 86, 216–229, 10.1016/j.cortex.2016.10.021, 27919546, 0010-9452,weblink and German-speakingJOURNAL, Form, Sven, Schlichting, Kerrin, Kaernbach, Christian, November 2017, Mentoring functions: Interpersonal tensions are associated with mentees' creative achievement., Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 11, 4, 440–450, 10.1037/aca0000103, 1931-390X, version. It is the self-report questionnaire most frequently used in research.


The potential relationship between creativity and intelligence has been of interest since the late 1900s, when a multitude of influential studies – from Getzels & Jackson,Getzels, J. W., & Jackson, P. W. (1962). Creativity and intelligence: Explorations with gifted students. New York: Wiley. Barron,Barron, F. (1963). Creativity and psychological health. Princeton: D. Van Nostrand Company. Wallach & Kogan,Wallach, M. A., & Kogan, N. (1965). Modes of thinking in young children: A study of the creativity-intelligence distinction. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston. and GuilfordGuilford, J. P. (1967). The nature of human intelligence. New York: McGraw-Hill. – focused not only on creativity, but also on intelligence. This joint focus highlights both the theoretical and practical importance of the relationship: researchers are interested not only if the constructs are related, but also how and why.Plucker, J., & Renzulli, J. S. (1999). Psychometric approaches to the study of human creativity. In R. J. Sternberg (Ed.), Handbook of creativity (pp. 35–60). New York: Cambridge University Press.There are multiple theories accounting for their relationship, with the 3 main theories as follows:
  • Threshold Theory – Intelligence is a necessary, but not sufficient condition for creativity. There is a moderate positive relationship between creativity and intelligence until IQ ~120.
  • Certification Theory – Creativity is not intrinsically related to intelligence. Instead, individuals are required to meet the requisite level intelligence in order to gain a certain level of education/work, which then in turn offers the opportunity to be creative. Displays of creativity are moderated by intelligence.Hayes, J. R. (1989). Cognitive processes in creativity. In J. A. Glover, R. R. Ronning, & C. R. Reynolds (Eds.), Handbook of creativity (pp. 135–145). New York: Plenum.
  • Interference Theory – Extremely high intelligence might interfere with creative ability.Sternberg, R. J. (1996). Successful Intelligence. NewYork: Simon & Schuster.
Sternberg and O’HaraSternberg, R. J., & O’Hara, L. A. (1999). Creativity and intelligence. In R. J. Sternberg (Ed.), Handbook of creativity (pp. 251–272). Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press. proposed a framework of 5 possible relationships between creativity and intelligence:
  1. Creativity is a subset of intelligence
  2. Intelligence is a subset of creativity
  3. Creativity and intelligence are overlapping constructs
  4. Creativity and intelligence are part of the same construct (coincident sets)
  5. Creativity and intelligence are distinct constructs (disjoint sets)

Creativity as a subset of intelligence

A number of researchers include creativity, either explicitly or implicitly, as a key component of intelligence.Examples of theories that include creativity as a subset of intelligence
  • Sternberg’s Theory of Successful intelligenceSternberg, R. J., Kaufman, J. C., & Grigorenko, E. L. (2008). Applied intelligence. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (see Triarchic theory of intelligence) includes creativity as a main component, and comprises 3 sub-theories: Componential (Analytic), Contextual (Practical), and Experiential (Creative). Experiential sub-theory – the ability to use pre-existing knowledge and skills to solve new and novel problems – is directly related to creativity.
  • The Cattell–Horn–Carroll theory includes creativity as a subset of intelligence. Specifically, it is associated with the broad group factor of long-term storage and retrieval (Glr). Glr narrow abilities relating to creativity include:JOURNAL, Kaufman, J. C., Kaufman, S. B., Lichtenberger, E. O., 2011, Finding creativity on intelligence tests via divergent production, Canadian Journal of School Psychology, 26, 2, 83–106, 10.1177/0829573511406511, ideational fluency, associational fluency, and originality/creativity. Silvia et al.JOURNAL, Silvia, P. J., Beaty, R. E., Nusbaum, E. C., 2013, Verbal fluency and creativity: General and specific contributions of broad retrieval ability (Gr) factors to divergent thinking, Intelligence, 41, 5, 328–340, 10.1016/j.intell.2013.05.004, conducted a study to look at the relationship between divergent thinking and verbal fluency tests, and reported that both fluency and originality in divergent thinking were significantly affected by the broad level Glr factor. MartindaleMartindale, C. (1999). Biological bases of creativity. In R. J. Sternberg (Ed.), Handbook of creativity (pp. 137– 152). New York: Cambridge University Press. extended the CHC-theory in the sense that it was proposed that those individuals who are creative are also selective in their processing speed Martindale argues that in the creative process, larger amounts of information are processed more slowly in the early stages, and as the individual begins to understand the problem, the processing speed is increased.
  • The Dual Process Theory of IntelligenceKaufman, J.C., Kaufman, S.B., & Plucker, J.A. (2013). Contemporary theories of intelligence. In J. Reisberg (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Cognitive Psychology (pp. 811-822). New York, NY: Oxford University Press posits a two-factor/type model of intelligence. Type 1 is a conscious process, and concerns goal directed thoughts, which are explained by g. Type 2 is an unconscious process, and concerns spontaneous cognition, which encompasses daydreaming and implicit learning ability. Kaufman argues that creativity occurs as a result of Type 1 and Type 2 processes working together in combination. The use of each type in the creative process can be used to varying degrees.

Intelligence as a subset of creativity

In this relationship model, intelligence is a key component in the development of creativity.Theories of creativity that include intelligence as a subset of creativity
  • Sternberg & Lubart’s Investment Theory.JOURNAL, Sternberg, R. J., Lubart, T. I., 1991, An investment theory of creativity and its development, Human Development, 34, 1–32, 10.1159/000277029, JOURNAL, Sternberg, R. J., Lubart, T. I., 1992, Buy low and sell high: An investment approach to creativity, Current Directions in Psychological Science, 1, 1, 1–5, 10.1111/j.1467-8721.1992.tb00002.x, Using the metaphor of a stock market, they demonstrate that creative thinkers are like good investors – they buy low and sell high (in their ideas). Like under/low-valued stock, creative individuals generate unique ideas that are initially rejected by other people. The creative individual has to persevere, and convince the others of the ideas value. After convincing the others, and thus increasing the ideas value, the creative individual ‘sells high’ by leaving the idea with the other people, and moves onto generating another idea. According to this theory, six distinct, but related elements contribute to successful creativity: intelligence, knowledge, thinking styles, personality, motivation, and environment. Intelligence is just one of the six factors that can either solely, or in conjunction with the other five factors, generate creative thoughts.
  • Amabile’s Componential Model of Creativity.JOURNAL, Amabile, T. M., 1982, Social psychology of creativity: A consensual assessment technique, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 43, 5, 997–1013, 10.1037/0022-3514.43.5.997, Amabile, T. M. (1996). Creativity in context: Update to "The Social Psychology of Creativity". Boulder: Westview Press. In this model, there are 3 within-individual components needed for creativity – domain-relevant skills, creativity-relevant processes, and task motivation – and 1 component external to the individual: their surrounding social environment. Creativity requires a confluence of all components. High creativity will result when an individual is: intrinsically motivated, possesses both a high level of domain-relevant skills and has high skills in creative thinking, and is working in a highly creative environment.
  • Amusement Park Theoretical Model.JOURNAL, Baer, J., Kaufman, J. C., 2005, Bridging generality and specificity: The Amusement Park Theoretical (APT) Model of creativity, Roeper Review, 27, 3, 158–163, 10.1080/02783190509554310, In this 4-step theory, both domain-specific and generalist views are integrated into a model of creativity. The researchers make use of the metaphor of the amusement park to demonstrate that within each of these creative levels, intelligence plays a key role:
    • To get into the amusement park, there are initial requirements (e.g., time/transport to go to the park). Initial requirements (like intelligence) are necessary, but not sufficient for creativity. They are more like prerequisites for creativity, and if an individual does not possess the basic level of the initial requirement (intelligence), then they will not be able to generate creative thoughts/behaviour.
    • Secondly are the subcomponents – general thematic areas – that increase in specificity. Like choosing which type of amusement park to visit (e.g. a zoo or a water park), these areas relate to the areas in which someone could be creative (e.g. poetry).
    • Thirdly, there are specific domains. After choosing the type of park to visit e.g. waterpark, you then have to choose which specific park to go to. Within the poetry domain, there are many different types (e.g. free verse, riddles, sonnet, etc.) that have to be selected from.
    • Lastly, there are micro-domains. These are the specific tasks that reside within each domain e.g. individual lines in a free verse poem / individual rides at the waterpark.

Creativity and intelligence as overlapping yet distinct constructs

This possible relationship concerns creativity and intelligence as distinct, but intersecting constructs.Theories that include Creativity and Intelligence as Overlapping Yet Distinct Constructs
  • Renzulli’s Three-Ring Conception of Giftedness.JOURNAL, Renzulli, J. S., 1978, What makes giftedness? Reexamining a definition, Phi Delta Kappan, 60, 180–261, In this conceptualisation, giftedness occurs as a result from the overlap of above average intellectual ability, creativity, and task commitment. Under this view, creativity and intelligence are distinct constructs, but they do overlap under the correct conditions.
  • PASS theory of intelligence. In this theory, the planning component – relating to the ability to solve problems, make decisions and take action – strongly overlaps with the concept of creativity.JOURNAL, Naglieri, J. A., Kaufman, J. C., 2001, Understanding intelligence, giftedness, and creativity using PASS theory, Roeper Review, 23, 3, 151–156, 10.1080/02783190109554087,
  • Threshold Theory (TT). A number of previous research findings have suggested that a threshold exists in the relationship between creativity and intelligence – both constructs are moderately positively correlated up to an IQ of ~120. Above this threshold of an IQ of 120, if there is a relationship at all, it is small and weak.Torrance, E. P. (1962). Guiding creative talent. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall. TT posits that a moderate level of intelligence is necessary for creativity.
In support of the TT, BarronBarron, F. (1969). Creative person and creative process. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston. reported finding a non-significant correlation between creativity and intelligence in a gifted sample; and a significant correlation in a non-gifted sample. YamamotoJOURNAL, Yamamoto, K, 1964, Creativity and sociometric choice among adolescents, Journal of Social Psychology, 64, 2, 249–261, 10.1080/00224545.1964.9919564, 14238998, in a sample of secondary school children, reported a significant correlation between creativity and intelligence of r = .3, and reported no significant correlation when the sample consisted of gifted children. Fuchs-Beauchamp et al.JOURNAL, Fuchs-Beauchamp, K. D., Karnes, M. B., Johnson, L. J., 1993, Creativity and intelligence in preschoolers, Gifted Child Quarterly, 37, 3, 113–117, 10.1177/001698629303700303, in a sample of preschoolers found that creativity and intelligence correlated from r = .19 to r = .49 in the group of children who had an IQ below the threshold; and in the group above the threshold, the correlations were r =

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