Monday, September 25, 2017

Psychology of Creativity: Art, Science and Technology

Until the middle of the 20th century, creativity was generally considered as a psychological attribute of an artist and, sometimes, of a scientist. Then in the late 1950s, J.P. Gulliford applied the idea of creative thinking to technological inventions.

Nowadays, engineers and scientists are expected to be creative. A recent paper shows how creativity in science/tech and art relate to personality traits, the so-called Big Five:
The Big Five personality dimension Openness/Intellect is the trait most closely associated with creativity and creative achievement.

We confirmed the hypothesis that whereas Openness predicts creative achievement in the arts, Intellect predicts creative achievement in the sciences. Inclusion of performance measures of general cognitive ability and divergent thinking indicated that the relation of Intellect to scientific creativity may be due at least in part to these abilities. Lastly, we found that Extraversion additionally predicted creative achievement in the arts, independently of Openness. Results are discussed in the context of dual-process theory.
A related paper outlined the overall relationship between the Big Five, by grouping them into two complementary categories - Stability and Plasticity.

Remarkably, the brain uses a broad range of cognitive strategies to pursue goals within a social context. Given a chance, we can exercise our creative options through technological innovation.

As a side remark, from an innovation theory perspective, the brain and society solve the stability-plasticity dilemma by using both traits, e.g. through the separation in space and time.

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