Analysis of the Definition of Creativity

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Updated: Aug 15, 2023
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Frequently, creativity is compared to being intelligent, artistic, or doing something unusual or atypical. However, it is not confined to those illustrations; it can be seen in many different aspects. The ability to solve a simple problem like figuring out the quickest way to work so you are not late can constitute creativity. The term itself is difficult to define; however, to develop an understanding, we need to have an acceptable idea of creativity. In this course, we have been presented with multiple articles that attempt to define creativity.

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That said, these articles cover a variety of topics intertwined with creativity. The authors’ arguments are presented in an attempt to broaden and expand our learning of creativity. These articles provide a foundation for analyzing and integrating models and theories of creativity together, identifying weaknesses and strengths within the models, observing the relationship between creativity and intelligence, and linking creativity to the classroom. Science has shown that humans had colonized in South Africa about 100,000 years ago.

However, there was no sign of creativity in this civilization until about 40,000 years ago (Carruthers, 227). By the time creativity emerged within individuals, populations of humans had expanded around the globe. Peter Carruthers argues that the growth of creativity and problem-solving behavior in the Upper Paleolithic Age is the result of increased childhood pretend play (Carruthers, 242). For example, a child using a drumstick as a phone to talk to an absent uncle is an instance of child pretense. Peter Carruthers would consider creativity to be an act of generating original ideas and acknowledging the potential of these novel ideas. He considered childhood pretence, the act of pretend play, as a basic foundation for adults to have creative abilities. His two proposed fundamental ideas that would have to happen during pretence were the supposition-generator and the possible-worlds box. The supposition generator allowed humans the ability to imagine potential events that had not occurred previously, also known as reasoning under supposition.

The possible-worlds box is a memory system where beliefs and thoughts were stored (Carruthers, 241). To strengthen our understanding of creativity, Carruthers’s interpretation needs to be integrated with Margaret Boden’s conception because standing alone, they both raise numerous questions. These questions arising from their work pertain to the fundamental basis of their models of creativity. Boden would ultimately see creativity as being defined by different psychological processes that produce novel and valuable ideas. One of the strengths in her argument is when she categorizes creativity into three types: combinational, exploratory, and transformational. These subtypes of creativity provide more insight and understanding of how creativity is not defined by one approach. In turn, when assessing ideas, Boden would pose questions such as how complex and novel is this idea, and in what ways does it make this idea creative, instead of merely suggesting whether it is creative or not.

Boden’s article is centered around the idea that artificial intelligence has refined our comprehension of the human mind and all of the complex mental processes that happen during creative thought. Both Carruthers’s and Boden’s work provide interesting outlooks surrounding creativity. Integrating their interpretation of creativity would provide a less vague understanding of creativity. Carruthers’s work lacks the systematic aspect of creativity, an area in which Boden could assist by offering her three different types of creativity. This would establish multiple ways in which adults can be creative, moving beyond childhood pretense. At the same time, Carruthers spends a substantial amount of time in his article discrediting other arguments about creativity. This approach is noteworthy but leaves readers with vague assertions about his argument for childhood pretense and unsure about how to apply his idea of creativity to the present day.

Boden, on the other hand, could benefit from integrating Carruthers’s understanding of the evolution of creativity to provide a clear timeline of when creativity was first documented. While she provides a compelling starting point for exploring her conception of creativity, background knowledge of human evolution could strengthen her argument and give readers more context. Thus, combining their ideas would fortify their insights into creativity by providing a more directed understanding that is more applicable. In Boden’s model of creativity, she values a creative idea previously unthought of, also known as an H-creative idea (Boden, 24). A potential weakness of this approach is that it may not take into account areas like the music industry. For example, contemporary artists usually gain recognition within a specific genre. Therefore, one could argue that their task is even more challenging as they have to stay confined to a single genre. Artists often gain recognition when they perfect or introduce a unique element to their songs.

These artists use a P-creative idea, producing music that is new to them but still belongs to a previously existing genre. Boden’s model leans towards favoring scientific creativity, placing a premium on entirely new ideas no one has ever conceived before. As an example, Newton’s three laws of motion were entirely new concepts when he developed them by observing an apple fall from a tree, thus laying the foundations of modern physics. These laws, which introduced the idea of gravity and motion, exemplify an H-creative idea. Another weakness in Boden’s creativity model is her concept of a “conceptual space”. This concept comes up when she discusses exploratory and transformational creativity. According to her, in exploratory creativity, the individual moves through this space, discovering unvisited locations (Boden, 25).

In transformational creativity, conceptual space is transformed by altering one or more of the dimensions that define it, meaning ideas cannot be provoked that could not have been before the alteration (Boden, 25). This notion seems very obscure and indefinite, especially when considering its application. Boden’s idea of conceptual space is very open-ended and broad in terms of putting into words what it actually is. Ultimately, it leaves room for an abundance of unanswered questions. For example, what comprises this conceptual space, how vast is it, and how does the human mind describe and differentiate these spaces? To reinforce her model, there needs to be an imposed explicit mechanism that can be attainable for human minds to limit this open-ended search space she describes in her model. Creativity, according to Liane Gabora, can be explained in terms of cognitive processes. This involves developing one’s understanding of the world through different practices of analyzing aspects of our world (Gabora, 1). These practices enable us to comprehend a variety of perspectives that fully immerse our minds in creative processes. In Gabora’s mind, creativity is a time-consuming process that introduces countless new problems by generating copious unfamiliar ideas. These problems are mirrored in a classroom setting, which teachers often find challenging.

Classrooms often inhibit students’ creativity as they are expected to focus solely on absorbing and regurgitating the knowledge presented to them. This leads to a problem where children are inundated with massive amounts of information, making it very challenging for students to delve deep and explore concepts (Gabora, 2). This ultimately leaves less time for children to think and process information from different perspectives to gain new insights. Alternatively, Gabora identifies schools to be problematic as they essentially stifle creativity in classrooms. To address this issue, teachers need to focus less on the reproduction of information and allocate more time for students to critically reflect and problem solve ideas presented in class (Gabora, 2). Echoing Gabora’s sentiments is Jose Gomez in his article. He notes that creative processes can be beneficial in a classroom setting for students. Teachers can create learning environments that encourage students to critically evaluate subjects, allowing them to formulate solutions (Gomez, 34). This facilitates students connecting new ideas they are learning about, enabling them to fully immerse in diverse perspectives and contribute to their understanding of the world. He further mentions that while the use of group projects or collaboration can be beneficial, too many group projects could inhibit individual creativity (Gomez, 35).

An idea that brings forward novel and fresh understandings of the everyday world is how Jose Gomez would consider creativity. This involves being able to modify one’s technique of addressing a problem. This can be done by developing ways to come up with ideas that are applicable to the situation (Gomez, 33). Consequently, creative ideas are not thought of immediately. One has to spend a decent amount of time and effort in order to come up with solutions to the problem they are faced with. Most creative people are more interested in understanding the meaning and implication of a concept rather than the small details. Creative people have considerable cognitive flexibility, communicate easily, are intellectually curious, and tend to let their impulses flow freely (Gomez, 32). It is very tempting for many individuals to associate high intelligence with high creativity levels because it seems plausible that there should be a relationship between the two. Nonetheless, claiming that high intelligence leads to high creativity levels is an inaccurate statement. Studies in the past have made this topic a very controversial one. However, beyond the minimum level of intelligence needed for proficiency in a field, additional intelligence offers no assurance of an increase in creativity (Gomez, 32).

A study found that there is simply a relationship between the two variables, it does not suggest that one contributes to the other (Gomez, 32). In intelligence quotient (IQ) tests, individuals who have had to take the tests rely on convergent thinking. Convergent thinking is the ability to reproduce already existing data and old responses and link them to new situations and solutions (Gomez, 33). The problem with IQ tests, however, is that there is only one correct answer for each question. Thus, creativity is not useful during these tests because convergent thinking typically inhibits the flow of ideas (Gomez, 33). Even tests that measure creativity are subjective in the sense that they have a preconceived right answer, so one is not really allowed to be creative. This idea of convergent thinking is very similar to Boden’s idea of a P-creative idea because they both rely on utilizing past information for new situations. In relation to Gomez’s claim about creativity only having a mere relationship with intelligence, Carruthers explicitly states that 90,000 years ago Homo sapiens sapiens were of basically modern intelligence, but crucially lacking a creative imagination (Carruthers, 227).

These articles are similar and essentially complement each other’s positions on the issues of intelligence and creativity. Carruthers makes a point at the beginning of his article to talk about how Homo sapiens sapiens increased their intelligence by accumulating knowledge about the environment and making technological innovations (Carruthers, 227). However, at this point in time, they lacked a creative thought process. This supports Gomez’s statement that neither creativity nor intelligence necessarily contributes to one another, and there is no guarantee that intelligence offers an increase in creativity, or vice versa. This is backed up when Carruthers states that Homo sapiens sapiens were intelligent but lacking creative thought processes back then. Yet, as years passed, children started to pretend play, which led to an evolution of our creative abilities. Thus, it shows that making an assertion that high intelligence leads to high levels of creativity is inaccurate because creativity came along after intelligence.

This does support the idea of a possible relationship between the two variables, as outlined by Gomez. Ultimately, after assessing the ideas of both authors, it is clear that these articles complement each other’s positions on intelligence and creativity. Over the course of these articles, the concept of creativity has been critically analyzed and applied to a vast range of topics, such as childhood pretence and artificial intelligence. In the end, however, ideas like those of Carruthers and Boden can be integrated together to better understand creativity. Some weaknesses of the authors have been addressed and provisions have been made to clarify the more obscure content. Gomez’s viewpoints on intelligence address the relationship between intelligence and creativity.

This idea has been used to complement and strengthen Carruthers’s position on evolution. Using both of these articles to complement each author’s viewpoints also supports Gomez’s claim regarding the relationship between the two variables. Therefore, even in school classrooms, where the idea of creativity has been discussed and Gomez and Gabora’s frameworks have begun to be utilized, students are becoming better equipped to express their creativity. In the end, these articles provide a strong foundation for an extensive analysis of the concept of creativity, and when integrated and compared, they provide an intuitive understanding of creativity.

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Analysis of the Definition of Creativity. (2022, Aug 27). Retrieved from