The Nature of Creativity

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The Nature of Creativity

ABSTRACT: Like E. Paul Torrance, my colleagues
and I have tried to understand the nature of creativity,
to assess it, and to improve instruction by teaching
for creativity as well as teaching students to think
creatively. This article reviews our investment theory
of creativity, propulsion theory of creative contributions,
and some of the data we have collected with regard
to creativity. It also describes the propulsion
theory of creative contributions. Finally, it draws
some conclusions.
The field of creativity as it exists today emerged largely
as a result of the pioneering efforts of J. P. Guilford
(1950) and E. Paul Torrance (1962, 1974). It is wholly
fitting to dedicate a special issue of the Creativity Research Journal to Torrance because of his seminal contributions
to thinking about creativity. To this day, the
Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking (Torrance, 1974)
remain the most widely used assessments of creative
talent.
Guilford and Torrance had many more agreements
than disagreements about the nature of creativity and
the ways to measure it. Both were basically
psychometric theorists and conceived of and attempted
to measure creativity from a psychometric standpoint.
However, both were broad thinkers, and their conceptions
were much more expansive than the
operationalizations of these conceptions through their
tests. Both concentrated on divergent thinking as the
basis of creativity and devised tests that emphasized
the assessment of divergent thinking. Both left behind
numerous students and disciples to carry on their pioneering work. Torrance, in particular, was a warm, caring,
and positive person. I met him only a few times,
but I was enormously impressed with the modesty he
displayed, given his preeminence in the field. He
showed that the best people in the field have no need
for the pretensions to which less-distinguished academics
can be so susceptible.
There are a number of...
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