The Creativity Discussion

The Creative Person

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Discussed what creativity is

Looked at some historical and psychological perspectives

What is creativity?

There is no one size fits all definition of creativity

Creativity must be assessed based on the situational characteristics (Gabora 2013)

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The 4 Ps of Creativity





The Creative Persons Personality

What is personality?

A persons typical/consistent way of thinking feeling and acting

What is a personality trait?

A relatively stable, consistent, and enduring internal characteristic that is deduced from a pattern of behaviors, attitudes, feelings, and habits in the individual.

Culmination of Creative Characteristics (Taylor, 1961)

Studies of Air Force and NASA scientists and on reports in the three (1955, 1957, 1959) University of Utah research conferences on the identification of Creative Scientific Talent.

In the three conferences, 37 different nationally- selected participants presented a total of nearly 50 research reports, covering various sub-areas such as criteria of creativity, predictors of creativity, education and training of creativity, and working environments that affect creativity

Research Findings on Creative Characteristics Intellectual Characteristics (Taylor, 1961)

Originality Redefinition Adaptive flexibility

Spontaneous flexibility

Fluency of associations

Fluency of expressions

Fluency of ideas

Fluency of words


Motivational Characteristics

Intellectual persistence Liking to think Liking to manipulate and toy with ideas Need for recognition for


Need for variety Need for autonomy Preference for complex order and for challenges

therein Tolerance of ambiguity

Resistance to closing up and crystallizing things prematurely coupled

with a strong need for ultimate closure,

Need for mastery of a problem,

A need to improve upon currently accepted


High energy with vast output through

disciplined work habits is usually found.

Personality Characteristics

Creative persons are more devoted to

autonomy More self-sufficient

More independent in judgment (contrary

to group agreement, if needed, to be


More open to the irrational in themselves

More stable

More capable of taking greater risks

in the hope for greater gains,

More interested in unconventional


More dominant and self assertive

More complex as a person More self accepting

More resourceful and adventurous

More radical (Bohemian)

More controlling of their own behavior

by self concept

More emotionally sensitive

More introverted, but bold.

Qualities of the creative mind

Daceys (1989) list is constructed around eight qualities of the creative mind, including tolerance for ambiguity, flexibility, androgyny (uninhibited by gender stereotypes), and delay of gratification

Feist (1999) categorized more than 100 references comparing artists and non-artists, scientists and non-scientists. His list, distinguishing creatives from non-creatives, included imagination, impulsivity, lack of conscientiousness, anxiety, emotional sensitivity, ambition, norm-doubting, hostility, aloofness, unfriendliness, lack of warmth, dominance, arrogance, and autonomy

Bruner (1973) called it connectedness, a blending of apparent opposites and contradictions. Creative individuals present an array of paradoxes. They are relaxed but attentive, confident but humble, disinterested but selfish, detached but involved, constructive but discontented, mindless but perceptive, convergent and divergent, and able to delay closure but able to stay with a decision once made (McMullen, 1976).

The Paradox of the Creative Person

Big Five Personality (OCEAN)

Openness to experience

(imaginative vs. down to earth;

variety vs. routine)

Conscientiousness (organized vs. disorganized)

Extraversion (eg. Sociable vs. not, affectionate vs.


Agreeableness (eg. Soft-hearted vs.

ruthless; trusting v. suspicious)

Neuroticism (eg. Worried v. calm;

insecure v. secure)

Openness to Experience Openness to experience:

Single strongest and most consistent personality trait that predicts creative achievement

In particular the Big Five Personality trait of Openness to Experience has been positively correlated with a variety of measures of Creativity, e.g. Divergent thinking (DeYoung, 2015; Kaufman et al, 2016)

3 major types of cognitive engagement making up the core of openness:

1. Intellectual engagement: an interest in searching for truth; a love of problem solving; a drive to engage with ideas

associated with creative achievement in the sciences

2. Affective engagement: wanting to explore the full depths of human emotion; a preference for using gut feeling, emotions, empathy, and

compassion to make decisions

3. Aesthetic engagement: exhibiting a drive toward exploring fantasy and art; a tendency to experience emotional absorption in beauty affective and aesthetic engagement linked with artistic creativity.

Creativity and Madness

The creative individual summarized

Treffinger et al. (2002), drawing from over 100 articles, described four patterns of abilities, dispositions, styles, and personal characteristics. The creative individual:

– Generates ideas (using divergent and metaphorical thinking)

– Digs more deeply into ideas (using convergent and critical thinking)

– Is open to and has the courage to explore ideas

– To a greater degree, is willing to listen to his or her inner voice.


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