As everyone knows, true creativity comes from simple formulas and the memorization of data. This chapter focuses on divergent thinking tests, which are still the most common way that creativity is measured. Guilford derived the core ideas behind divergent thinking as well as many popular measures. The people who score the Torrance Tests are specifically trained to distinguish responses that are truly original from those that are just bizarre. There are other tests that measure creativity, but most are either a variation on divergent thinking or use some type of raters. For example, the Evaluation of Potential Creativity (EPOC) has begun to be used in some studies and may be promising, but is still largely rooted in a mix of divergent thinking scoring and raters. Another test is the Finke Creative Invention Task, which is clever but also requires raters for scoring.
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The Big Five, which this chapter discusses in more detail, are extraversion, neuroticism, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness to experience. Each of these five factors represents a continuum of behavior, traits, and inclinations. There are some popular personality measures that use different theories, such as Eysenck’s Personality Questionnaire, which looks at extraversion and neuroticism as well as psychoticism. The personality factor most associated with creativity is openness to experience. Indeed, one way that researchers study creativity is by giving creative personality tests. Being open to new experiences may also help creative people be more productive. King found that people who were creative and high on openness to experience were more likely to report creative accomplishments. DeYoung and S. B. Kaufman, of course, are not the only people to blend or split different factors of personality to present new models. Fürst, Ghisletta, and Lubart suggest three factors: plasticity, divergence, and convergence.
This chapter explores three ’classic’ studies of creativity and mental illness. The first is Jamison whose focus is on the connection between bipolar disorder and creativity. The second is Andreasen, who used structured interviews to analyze 30 creative writers, 30 matched controls, and first-degree relatives of each group. The writers had a higher rate of mental illness, with a particular tendency toward bipolar and other affective disorders. The third major work is Ludwig, who utilized the historiometric technique. All three studies have come under serious criticism. Many of the studies of Big-C creators are historiometric, akin to Ludwig’s work. Some such studies claim that eminent creators show higher rates of mental illness. A much more common approach is to look at everyday people and give them measures of creativity and mental health. Typically, researchers look at what are called subclinical disorders—in other words, they’re not clinically significant.
One school admissions area that already uses creativity is gifted admissions—which students are chosen to enter gifted classes, programs, or after-school activities. Both education and business play great lip service to creativity. Puccio and Cabra review the literature on creativity and organizations and do a nice job of highlighting how every couple of years, a new report from industry emphasizes the importance of creativity. It is important to note that there is a large inconsistency between gender differences on creativity tests and actual creative accomplishment. Although gender differences on creativity tests are minor or nonexistent, differences in real-world creative accomplishment are large and significant. This chapter shows how creativity can play a role in admissions and hiring. Hiring measures tend to have better validity, even the general mental ability (GMA) measures; even if minorities score lower, the accuracy of prediction is consistent by ethnicity.
Creative people are also often seen as being outsiders and eccentric. Sen and Sharma’s examination of creativity beliefs in India tested beliefs about the Four P’s and found that creativity was more likely to be described as a holistic essence of an individual, and less likely to be focused on the product or process. Romo and Alfonso studied Spanish painters and found that one of the implicit theories that the painters held about creativity involved the role of psychological disorders. Plucker and Dana found that past histories of alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco usage were not correlated with creative achievements; familial drug and alcohol use also was not significantly associated with creative accomplishments or creative personality attributes. Humphrey, McKay, Primi, and Kaufman did find that illegal drug use predicted self-reported creative behaviors even when openness to experience was controlled.
Creativity and intelligence, like bacon and eggs, certainly seem like they should go together. But exactly how they do, or whether intelligence is part of creativity or creativity is part of intelligence, is still debated. At one point in time, a ‘threshold’ theory was popular, which argued that creativity and intelligence are positively related up until an IQ of approximately 120. Some studies have found that although creativity does predict GPA, other variables do it better or more directly, such as cognitive style, mental speed and short-term memory, or reasoning ability. An additional way of considering how creativity relates to intellectual abilities is to consider how creativity is connected to learning disabilities (LD). Another learning disability with a relationship to creativity is Williams syndrome. Healey and Rucklidge found that although 40” of a creative group showed symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), none met the level for actual diagnosis.
Throughout history, creators have used their skills in ways that have led to tremendous negative impact. Clark and James describe ’negative creativity’ as something that ends with a bad outcome even without a bad intention. If negative creativity is someone taking office supplies without wanting to hurt the company, then malevolent creativity is someone stealing essential company secrets to sell to its competitors with the specific desire to do harm. Malevolent creativity can be seen in terrorism and criminal behavior. Creativity is a tool that can be used for good or bad purposes. The flip side of the coin is that there are arrays of studies that show the healing powers of expressive forms of creativity. Indeed, if there is a genuine connection between creative genius and mental illness, it could easily be the creativity in their lives that kept some of the geniuses afloat and as healthy as possible.
This chapter addresses how creativity operates on individual and social/environmental levels, and the effects and outcomes of the creative mind. Within creativity, however, there are four P’s, person, process, product, press or place, that are used to help shape how we conceptualize this broad concept. Another way of conceptualizing how to approach creativity is the idea of C’s. A core distinction is made between little-c and Big-C. Big-C is the kind of creativity that will last for generations; it may be remembered, used, or enjoyed a hundred years. In contrast, little-c is everyday creativity. Beghetto and Kaufman proposed mini-c and Pro-c. In mini-c, the initial spark of creativity does not have to be held up to the same standards that we use for typical everyday creativity. An interesting aside is that an implication of the model is that a Pro-c creator should be able to make money with his/her creativity.
One way of thinking about the question of creativity and domains is to ponder the lack of renaissance men and women—people who are truly creative in multiple arenas. It is important to note that both a domain-general and domain-specific point of view would allow for polymaths—a domain-generalist would say that these polymaths are using the same creative processes to paint and sculpt and be an accountant, whereas a domain-specificist would argue that they use different processes. Within creativity research, many studies have categorized creative domains. One key work is that of Carson, Peterson, and Higgins, who devised the creativity achievement questionnaire (CAQ) to assess 10 domains. They broke the domains down into two larger factors: the Arts and Science. A recent study by S. B. Kaufman did find cognitive differences by domain; general cognitive ability was a stronger predictor of creative achievement in the sciences than in the arts.
This chapter focuses on a key issue, intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation and their relationship to creativity. Learning goals are associated with intrinsic motivation. Performance goals are associated with extrinsic motivation. One way to think about the link between intrinsic motivation and creativity is in Csikszentmihalyi’s conception of Flow, or optimal experience. Flow represents the sensations and feelings that come when someone is actively engaged in an intense, favorite pursuit. Controlling evaluation emphasizes the specific task performance, triggering extrinsic motivation. Informational evaluation is more concerned with feedback and the chance to learn, and thus increases intrinsic motivation. It is found that informational evaluation led to more creative ideas than did controlling evaluation. The two self-oriented motivations are in essence intrinsic and extrinsic; growth is the personal enjoyment of the creative process, and gain is being driven by traditional rewards.