Creativity is one concept that is difficult to evaluate, measure, and nurture in a person. Creative abilities depend on many internal and external factors, such as predisposition and external social environment. Dean Keith Simonton is the author of the Creativity chapter in the Noba textbook series on psychology. He argues that creativity can be interpreted in different ways (Simonton, 2022). From his point of view, approaches to understanding creativity can be divided into three conditional categories, which are summarized in this paper.
Approaches to Understanding Creativity
The first category is based on understanding the cognitive processes of creators of creativity. When creating creativity, thought processes play one of the critical roles. The author identified two main tests to determine the cognitive orientations of the response. They include the Remote Associates Test and the Unusual Uses Task (Simonton, 2022). While the first questionnaire is structured by identifying associations, the second is for alternative use. The author also summarizes that creativity requires a person to go beyond standard thinking. By developing this skill in oneself, a person can go beyond the usual boundaries and vice versa. Violating the boundaries of standards can positively affect thinking and abilities.
The second category is based on specific knowledge about the creators and analysis of their characteristics. Creativity, in this case, is compared with personal qualities. Additionally, the very concept of creativity correlates with certain qualities, such as openness to experience. The author also highlights the conclusions of other researchers, stating that in order to possess a certain level of creativity, experience in the relevant field of activity is also necessary (Simonton, 2022). Thus, talent and creative thinking alone are not always enough.
The third approach is to study the context, particularly the social environment, in which creativity is created to study external influences. Regarding this approach, it is argued that external stimuli and features can also impact the development of the creative inclinations of the individual. For example, in an artificial reality, it is possible to create stimulating factors of influence, the effectiveness of which has been confirmed. In the study, those exposed to non-standard conditions, such as breaking the laws of physics, showed an increase in flexibility in their thought process (Simonton, 2022). Therefore, it is possible to develop and stimulate cognitive abilities.
Additionally, Simonton’s work demonstrates clear connections to many other readings. He primarily uses his own research to provide evidence and necessary information, but he often refers to other psychologists and cognitive scientists, as well. For instance, the author operates such terms as divergent thinking and convergent thinking, which were initially introduced in the works of American psychologist Joy Paul Guilford in 1956 (as cited in Simonton, 2022, p. 9). Thus, the chapter under discussion has many connections to other scholarly works.
After summarizing this chapter, I have realized that it has been insightful for me and illustrated many concepts for personal reflection. I have never analyzed creativity as a phenomenon with particular criteria, and it has never come to my mind that an idea is only considered creative when those criteria are satisfied. In other words, reading and summarizing Simonton’s chapter has allowed me to observe the concept of creativity from a different viewpoint.
Simonton, D. K. (2022). Creativity. In R. Biswas-Diener & E. Diener (Eds.), Noba textbook series: Psychology. DEF Publishers. Web.