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Creativity EPSY 8220 Homepage
Sarah Marie Catalana
Leonardo da Vinci
ADHD and Creativity
Creativity and Children
Catherine Cox - The Early Mental Traits of Three Hundred Geniuses
Creativity and Gender Differences
Creativity and Student/Teacher Engagement
Problem Finding & Creativity
Creativity and Gender Differences
Creativity has been defined in a multitude of ways leading to a surplus of definitions; however, there is not one ultimately accepted definition of creativity. Franken defined creativity as “the tendency to generate or recognize ideas, alternatives, or possibilities that may be useful in solving problems, communicating with others, and entertaining ourselves and others” (Trautmann, 2012, p. 1). Weisberg defined creativity as “’Creative’ refers to novel products of value, as in ‘The airplane was a creative invention.’ ‘Creative’ also refers to the person who produces the work, as in, ‘Picasso was creative.’ ‘Creativity,’ then refers both to the capacity to produce such works, as in ‘How can we foster our employees’ creativity?’ and to the activity of generating such products, as in ‘Creativity requires hard work.’ (Trautmann, 2012, p. 1). Csikszentmihalyi defined creativity as
any act, idea, or product that changes an existing domain, or that transforms an existing domain into a new one… what counts is whether the novelty he or she produces is accepted for inclusion in the domain” (Trautmann, 2012, p. 1).
Cropley (1999) discusses the current movement of defining creativity on the basis of aesthetics to an emphasis on novelty and adds that creativity “can be defined as a social phenomenon that is facilitated by some social factors and inhibited by others” (Cropley, 1999, p. 511). Cropley also defines creativity on the individual level as “an aspect of thinking, as a personality constellation, and as an interaction between thinking, personal properties, and motivation” (Cropley, 1999, p. 511).
It can be argued that the central component to all of these definitions is the novelty factor. In addition to novelty, all of these definitions possess emphasis on the Four P’s of Creativity, which are person (individual), press (place or environment), process, and product. R. L. Mooney originally introduced the Four P’s of Creativity. The creative process refers to the “ways in which creators think, feel, experience, motivate and direct themselves, and behave related to the generation of original and meaningful (creative) outcomes” (Richards, 1999, p. 733). The creative press, according to Mooney as cited by Richards is “the pattern of circumstances around individuals or groups accompanies what patterns of behavior in them… circumstances necessary for releasing creative production” (Richards, 1999, p. 733). The creative product is the final result of the process of creativity. It is important to note as Richards (1999) did in her article that creative product could be a tangible product or a set of ideas or a behavioral result. Finally, the creative person is an embodiment of the traits and characteristics of the individual that makes them creative. Likewise, Batey & Furnham (2006) suggest that product creativity can be associated with a syndrome involving the following:
Attributes of the product that are novel an useful
Attributes of the persons that generate the product
Attributes of the persons assessing the creativity
Attributes of the environment including the sources of evaluation, support, and source of stimulation
These traits or attributes could be ongoing or they could fluctuate with time and experience. Each individual expresses their own personal creativity in different ways whether it is through the generation of ideas or the generation of a tangible product or performance. Examples of individuals who expressed their creativity in different ways and in different environments include Leonardo da Vinci, Marie and Pierre Curie, Charles Darwin, and Camille Claudel.
Leonardo da Vinci
expressed his creativity through engineering design and artistic expression.
Leonardo da Vinci
Marie Curie and her husband Pierre isolated radioactive elements polonium and radium. Marie’s persistence led to being the first woman to win a Nobel Prize (1903) and one of only a few individuals to win Nobel Prizes in more than one area (physics and chemistry).
Marie and Pierre Curie
Charles Darwin observed, analyzed, and revised his theory of evolution.
Camille Claudel was a sculptor who envisioned and created intricate and expressive works of art from a variety of media. All of these individuals are eminent figures in their respective fields. The biographies of these individuals provide the background information of how they reached eminence in their fields despite obstacles they may have encountered along the way.
Many questions have been raised regarding creativity since there is not a crystal clear definition of creativity. One question that is very complex and controversial is how creativity differs among males and females.
The following Wiki space provides the historical background of creativity theory, theories of creativity and gender differences, the personality and behavioral markers of creativity theory, assessment of creativity and gender differences, and evidence of creativity stereotypes and gender differences.
Historical Background of Creativity Theory
Theories of creativity and creative thinking have been introduced, revised, and revived throughout history. The pre-Christian view of creativity “is the concept of genius that was originally associated with mystical powers or protection and good fortune” (Runco & Albert, 2010, p. 5). The Greeks “placed emphasis on an individual’s daimon (guardian spirit) that the idea of genius became mundane and was progressively associated with an individual’s abilities and appetites, both destructive and constructive” (Runco & Albert, 2010, p. 5). The influence of the
and the story of
influences Western schools of thought on creativity. In the
and on through the
, creativity and the individual became a focus of study. The invention of research further fueled interest in the individual person and process. Scientists such as
influenced a “widespread change in perceiving the laws of the physical world working in the here and now as well as a recognition of how this lawfulness related to human existence, how science produced knowledge about that relationship, and – just as important – the social purposes scientific knowledge could serve” (Runco & Albert, 2010, p. 6). Charles Darwin introduced his theories on evolution and natural selection in the -1800’s. Darwin’s process of natural selection led to “several basic characteristics of creativity were brought into sharp focus, especially its value in adaptation. One role of importance that creativity has had since
was in solving problems and “successful” adaptations, “individual” in character” (Runco & Albert, 2010, pp. 11-12).
was also interested in Darwin’s ideas of natural selection and had postulated his own theory of genetic inheritance and evolution. Galton was most interested in Eugenics and the study of individual differences. Galton’s contribution to creativity research lies in “his choice of eminent-achieving families as examples of hereditary ability” (Runco & Albert, 2010, p. 12). Becker was interested in creativity research of the nineteenth century and surmised that the five questions that the authors encompassed the definition of creativity, the creative person or population, the characteristics of the creative, the benefits of creativity, and increasing creativity. In the early twentieth century, psychologists became interested in measuring intelligence and individual differences.
Creativity Timeline Website
Theories of Gender Differences in Creativity
Biological theories of gender difference in creativity can be seen in many different fields. Baer (1999) points out that the achievements of women in the fine arts and liberal arts such as writing, musical performance, and drama are more in alignment with the male counterpart than is seen in the applied and theoretical sciences, music composition, and painting. Baer references Simonton’s (1984) argument that “active discrimination against women had often made it difficult or impossible for women to have access to the resources necessary for achievement in some fields. Thus a woman might more easily succeed in a field like writing where the necessary resources are few than in musical composition or science, where lack of access to an orchestra or a well equipped laboratory might make it far less likely that a woman could participate” (Baer, 1999, p. 757). Baer references evidence from studies on androgeny where “levels of salivary testosterone is associated with higher levels of musical creativity” (Baer, 1999, p. 757).
Developmental theories of gender difference in creativity focus on the stages of development for boys and girls and creativity. Although some are inconclusive and some are unconfirmed, several theories have emerged. According to developmental theory (Baer, 1999), boys taking in new information are more likely to respond to accommodation and girls to assimilation. Due to the nature of divergent thinking tests, it would be predicted based on developmental theory that boys would tend to perform better than girls; however, that is not what the actual results of divergent thinking tests reveal. Another issue that developmental theory of creativity proposes is the difference in how extrinsic rewards affect creative performance. The prediction is that boys would respond greater to extrinsic rewards for creative achievement.
Sociocultural theories of gender difference in creativity address the influences of culture in the achievement of men and women in terms of creativity. Baer (1999) explains the differences in Western and non-western cultures by stating “in some non-Western cultures there is evidence of that the process of Westernization leads to higher creativity test scores for girls and a narrowing or elimination of the gap between girls’ and boys’ scores. There is also evidence of what has been terms “over-socializing -- effect. The difference in creativity test scores, which favors boys in traditional cultures (such as Arab culture), starts small and grows with increasing age. Girls in traditional cultures, according to this argument, are subject to “over-socialization” – a very inhibiting kind of socialization that restricts the development of creative thinking skill.” (Baer, 1999, pp. 757-758). Baer (1999) references Helson and Piirto’s arguments regarding gender differences in creativity. Helson emphasizes the roles of girls and boys and how boys are more likely to be encouraged to be more independent, whereas girls will be raised to be more dependent on others. Piirto argues that girls show less creative achievement after high school and college. Piirto emphasizes the role of important decision making saying that men are more likely to make decisions that pull them toward creative endeavors whereas women are more likely to make decisions that result in less creative endeavors.
Personality and Biological Markers of Creativity:
Do They Explain Gender Differences?
The personality and biological markers of creativity can serve to explain differences in creativity among individuals or groups of individuals. The
five factor model of personality traits
has been used to identify markers of creativity among individuals. The five factor model of personality traits includes extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability, and openness to experience. Extraversion refers to an individual’s comfort with relationships. Agreeableness refers to “the propensity to defer to others. Highly agreeable people are cooperative, warm and trusting. People who score low are cold, disagreeable, and antagonistic” (Esfahani, Ghafari, Emani, & Baboli, 2012, p. 3458). The third factor, conscientious, refers to an individual’s reliability in terms of organization, dependability, and persistence. Emotional stability refers to the degree of neuroticism. Finally, openness to experience refers to an individual’s interests and degree of interest with novelty and unusualness of ideas. A study conducted by Esfahani, et al. (2012) to investigate the impact of personality traits on creativity. A total of 160 student subjects were provided a 35 question survey. The survey results were analyzed quantitatively to reveal that
“personality traits have effect creativity… three dimensions have effect on creativity as extraversion, consciousness, and emotional stability. These three dimensions explained 43% of creativity variation” (Esfahani, et al., 2012, p. 3459).
Find out about your personality by clicking above!
The Big Five Personality Test is an anonymous web-based personality test which will provide feedback regarding your personality factors.
Hill & Rogers (2012) identify three personality factors associated with creativity, which are playfulness, curiosity, and risk-taking. Hill & Rogers state that “studies have found that boys and men are generally more playful than girls and women, and are more curious and more willing to take risks, which could help explain why men are more creatively productive than women in general, and in particular the hard sciences” (Hill & Rogers, 2012, p. 1).
In addition to personality markers of creativity, biological or behavioral markers of creativity reveal gender differences in creativity. Abra (1991) references a 1971 article by Greenacre stating that “talent is inborn and therefore evident from infancy. This “gift” includes special sensitivity to sensory stimuli and to possible connections among them, a rare empathy with external phenomena, and a sensory-motor apparatus inordinately capable of expression” (Abra, 1991, p. 4). The link between the biological and behavioral markers of creativity and expression may lie within the endocrine system. Abra (1991) links the endocrine system and hormone production with women’s physical sensitivities, mood, emotional expression, and self-expression. Studies were conducted with women under the influence of birth control pills, which effect hormone production. Likewise, the brain may hold secrets to how men and women differ in expression of creativity. Abra (1991) points out that research on the brain indicates that gender differences may lie in the lateralization of the brain. The right hemisphere of the brain in men may be more localized; therefore, may be the reason men express superiority in such domains as mathematics and mental imagery” (Abra, 1991, p. 4).
Find out more about brain structure and function by clicking above!
View The Divided Brain- RSA Animate Below
Assessment of Creativity and Gender Differences
The topic of gender differences in creativity is difficult to research due to its complexity. According to Baer (1999), it is very clear that differences in creativity exist; however, it is not clear as to the cause of the differences. It has been argued that many of the differences lie in the societal constraints that have held women back and that they have not yet caught up with the males dominated their field. Others have argued that it is not just one factor, but a combination of factors. Baer (1999) outlines three factors that in combination have affected the creative productivity of women. These factors include schooling opportunities, differences in expectations (societal and academic) of females and males throughout development, and the fact that accomplishments in a variety of fields are judged by standards that have been controlled by males.
In order to assess creativity, researchers and other agencies have utilized evaluative assessments, divergent thinking assessments, and associative assessments. Divergent thinking assessments assess “thinking often associated with creativity which involves the generation of varied, original, or unusual ideas in response to an open-ended question or task” (Baer, 1999, p. 753). According to Runco (1999), divergent thinking was brought to the front lines with J. P. Guilford’s Structure of Intellect (SOI) Model, which consisted of 180 cells which represented divergent productions. Several assessments emerged in order to test divergent thinking processes such as Mednick’s Remote Associations Test (RAT).
E. Paul Torrance’s
Torrance Test of Creative Thinking (TTCT) was developed in 1974 based on his previously developed Minnesota Tests of Creative Thinking battery which was developed in the late 1950s. The TTCT requires individuals to take a battery of tests including verbal and a figural tests. As described by Plucker & Makel (2010), the TTCT involves seven verbal subtests, which include asking, guessing, just suppose, product improvement, unusual uses, and unusual questions. The asking, guessing, and product improvement utilize a picture as a stimulus. The other four verbal assessments do not require a stimulus. The figural subtests include picture completion, construction, and lines/circles. Plucker & Makel (2010) refer to Torrance’s (1972b, 1974, and 1982) report that the administration, scoring, and score reporting are standardized and that trained scorers or even novices would be able to score effectively. The TTCT provided scores initially in regard to fluency, flexibility, originality, and elaboration. In later years, flexibility was removed due to too much deviation in scoring but scoring components of resistance to premature closure and abstractness of titles was added. The TTCT is perhaps the most widely used divergent thinking test.
TTCT Demonstrator Form
The results of divergent thinking tests in preschool and elementary aged children reveal that girls outscore boys more often than not; however, there is no statistically significant difference in creativity based on divergent thinking tests. Likewise, with adults taking divergent thinking tests, females tend to score higher; however, the results are not consistent and lead to results that are not statistically significant. Evaluative thinking, according to Guilford’s SOI model, refers to “the ability to make judgments or decisions concerning the quality of ideas and accuracy, appropriateness, suitability, or desirability in a given situation” (Baer, 1999, p. 755). The evaluative thinking measures reveal that there is no significant difference in terms of gender; however, it is important to note that there are only two studies to base this conclusion. Mednick’s Remote Associations Test (RAT) is based on associative thinking where there are “associations or bringing together of ideas that are different and often more remote” (Baer, 1999, p. 755).
Check out a sample of the RAT by clicking the following link: http://www.indiana.edu/~bobweb/Handout/d5.rat.htm
In addition to divergent thinking tests, researchers have been evaluating products and performance in order to gain insight into gender differences in creativity. The results according to Baer (1999) indicate that there is no significant difference among males and females. In one study that Baer cited, researchers looking at the publication rate of males versus females found that male authored publications outnumber female authored publications three to one which is most likely due to the above mentioned factors of a male dominated field as well as societal influence.
Evidence of Gender Differences in Creativity
Gender differences in creativity is “a difficult arena in which to conduct research, but there is consistent lack of gender differences both in creativity tests scores and in the creative accomplishments of boys and girls. As a result, it is difficult to show how innate gender differences in creativity could possibly explain later differences in creative accomplishment” (Baer & Kaufman, 2008, p. 75). Inconsistencies in studies of gender differences and creativity may have led to research in gender differences being neglected as a primary focus of research. Baer & Kaufman (2008) discuss the inconsistencies of scores predicting creativity and actual creative accomplishment. Baer & Kaufman state “most studies relating to gender differences in creativity have focused on divergent thinking, and these have not produced clear or consistent gender differences” (Baer & Kaufman, 2008, p. 76.) In order to best understand gender differences in creativity, it is necessary to view the evidence of gender differences in scores on creativity tests and gender differences on subjective assessments.
Gender Differences in Scores on Creativity Tests
According to Baer & Kaufman (2008), empirical evidence does not reveal simple conclusions regarding gender differences in scores on creativity tests. The authors state, “there are studies that report that girls and women score higher than boys and men, and there are studies that report the opposite. The former (that is, studies in which girls and women score higher) are more numerous
so it would be hard to make a case for overall male advantage” (Baer & Kaufman, 2008, p. 79).
Gender Differences on Subjective Assessments
Subjective assessments include self-report measures. Based on the research of Baer & Kaufman (2008), the use of self-report measures of creativity in a study by Goldsmith and Matherly found no gender differences in a study of 118 college students. The relationships between self-esteem and measures of creativity of these subjects did show that there was a positive correlation between the two for women. Baer & Kaufman (2012) also cites Runco’s study of 150 middle school children. The children self-reported creative activities across seven domains including music, art, crafts, writing, performance, science, and presentation. Runco’s analysis revealed statistically significant differences regarding quantity of performance.
Gender Differences and Stereotypes
in Evaluation of Creativity
The Consensual Assessment Technique (CAT) is an assessment tool “based on the idea that the best measure of creativity of a work of art, a theory, a research proposal, or any other artifact is the combined assessment of experts in that field. Unlike other measures of creativity, such as divergent thinking tests, the Consensual Assessment Technique is not based on any particular theory of creativity, which means that its validity (which has been well established empirically) is not dependent upon the validity of any particular theory of creativity” (Baer & McKool, 2009, p. 1). The procedure for using the CAT involves requiring subjects to create a product such as a poem, story, or experimental design among others. The sample obtained from individuals is then evaluated by a panel of experts in the field of study in terms of creativity. The experts evaluate the sample independently so that they do not influence each other’s evaluations of the sample. The focus of the evaluation is on creative products or performance and originality. The question of validity and reliability is important for any form of assessment. According to Baer & McKool (2009), there is high degree of consistency with agreement of evaluators in a very large quantity of studies of the CAT. Baer & McKool reference an article by Amabile (1983) discussing the inter-rater reliabilities of a series of studies of artistic and verbal creativity. Baer & McKool state, “The inter-rater reliabilities ranged from 0.72 to 0.93. In her more recent work Amabile (1996) has found a similar range of inter-rater reliability correlations (from 0.70-0.89), and other researchers have generally reported similar inter-rater reliabilities among expert judges” (Baer & McKool, 2009, p. 5).
In addition to the high degree of consistency and the inter-rated reliability, the CAT shows little evidence of bias in regard to gender and race/ethnicity. A large-scale study conducted by Kaufman, Baer, and Gentile and referenced by Baer & McKool (2009) showed that there was no significant difference in gender on any of the writing tasks or the poetry task. In this study, three analyses were conducted by a total of ten experts in each field of study. The tasks included 103 poems, 104 fictional stories, and 103 personal narratives. A study conducted by Kaufman, Baer, Agars, and Loomis investigated the “bias-free nature of the CAT, given that past results showed little to no gender or ethnic bias”(Kaufman, Baer, Agars, & Loomis, 2010, p. 201). In this study, 60 poems were randomly selected from a poetry website. Each poem was assigned a female or male name that would be associated with African American or Caucasian ethnicities. The poems were randomly arranged into two separate packets one with attributions and the other without. A total of 455 undergraduate students rated the poems for the following characteristics: creativity, writing ability, and enjoyment. The authors noted that the undergraduate students rating the poems were novices and the goal of the study was to reveal stereotypes and biases; therefore, experts were not required for evaluation purposes. The results of the study indicate that there was “little evidence of bias in ratings of creativity, writing ability, and poem enjoyment. Although some differences did emerge, these differences were small and consistent with an overall trend to inflate ratings of poems presented with names, regardless of the author’s gender or ethnicity. This finding suggests that biases and stereotypes about the creativity of writing by different groups are at most small” (Kaufman & et al., 2009, pp. 202-203). Kaufman, et al. (2009) reference many studies that argue that there are differenced in the writing abilities of males and females, which may account for the small differences observed in their study. These studies include one by Mulac and Lundell where it was found that writers could be identified as being male or female with 75% accuracy using emotional hedge words, adjectives, and sentence structure. In addition, a study by Argamon, Koppel, Fine, and Shimoni was referenced where a computer algorithm was used to detect gender of writers with 80% accuracy. Kaufman et al. suggests that further research needs to be conducted in specific domains for evidence of gender bias.
Gender, Gender Roles, and Creativity
A study conducted by
Stoltzfus, Nibbelink, Vredenburg, & Thyrum investigated gender, gender roles, and creativity on a mid-sized regional university campus. The sample included 136 undergraduate students ranging in age from 17 years to 31 years (57 males and 79 females). The researchers utilized a modified version of the TTCT as well as a personal attributes survey to obtain profiles of the individuals in the study.
The modified TTCT required participants to complete the following tasks:
Tin can novelty
Uses of a Cardboard Box
Picture completion (ovals)
The unusual uses for the tin can and the cardboard box were evaluated based on fluency, flexibility, and novel responses. The picture completion was scored on a scale ranging from 1 to 7. A score of 1 was “not at all unusual/surprising” and a score of 7 was “extremely unusual/surprising.” The Personal Attributes Questionnaire was a 24 item self-report scale, which was used to assess masculine and determine gender role characteristics. Based on the questionnaire, participants were categorized as androgynous, masculine, feminine, or undifferentiated.
The results of the study indicate the following:
significant differences were found favoring male participants’ performance in picture construction, the nonverbal creativity measure. There were no significant gender differences in participants’ flexibility and fluency scores on the two verbal (alternate uses) creativity tasks except for novelty of thinking in the cardboard box alternate uses task, where males generated significantly more original ideas than females did. Male participants’ verbal creativity (flexibility and fluency and tin can novelty) scores overall were higher than those of females, although the differences were not significant. Gender role was not significantly related to divergent thinking as measured by the two alternate uses tasks. Androgynous individuals’ picture construction productions, however, were judged to be superior to those of individuals in other gender role categories, with significant differences between androgynous participants and undifferentiated participants. Additionally, men and women who reported strongly masculine gender role characteristics surpassed the performance of undifferentiated participants”
(Stoltzfus, et al., 2011, pp. 429-430).
The researchers noted several findings that were “curious” such as the following:
The highest overall picture construction scores were obtained by men who identified strongly with feminine gender role characteristics.
The highest female performance, and the second highest picture construction creativity scores overall, were obtained by androgynous women.
The picture construction scores for androgynous men were close behind those for androgynous women, followed by the scores of highly masculine men and highly masculine women.
Undifferentiated men and women, as well as highly feminine women, produced particularly low creativity scores on the picture construction task. In sum, androgyny was associated with high levels of creativity in women, while identification with opposite-gender role characteristics was associated with the highest levels of creativity in males. In addition, both men and women who reported highly masculine gender role self-attributions surpassed the performance of undifferentiated participants and feminine females (Stoltzfus, et al, 2011, p. 430-431).
The researchers reference the findings of Getzels and Csikzentmihalyi’s 1976 study of male and female art students where they concluded that “the psychology of creative men is a feminine psychology and the psychology of creative women is a masculine psychology” (Stoltzus, et al, 2011, p. 431).
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