Cognition and Creativity

Topics: Cognition, Problem solving, Educational psychology Pages: 5 (1747 words) Published: November 17, 2013
Creativity Models

What makes a person creative? This is one of the questions that researchers in the field of creativity have been trying to solve and understand. In this paper I will compare the two theorists, Teresa Amabile and J.P. Guilford. Each has proposed a model of creativity in order to understand exactly what creativity is and how it works. The hope in doing so is that understanding how creativity functions will stimulate more creative thinking and problem solving. Guilford was the first to identify creativity as a type of intelligence and sought to identify common characteristics and cognitive abilities of known creative individuals and promote the development of those characteristics in order to help stimulate creative thinking. Amabile categorizes these characteristics and cognitive abilities as creative-relevant skills; one of four components in her model of creativity. Amabile believes that while these skills are needed, they need to work with domain-relevant skills, task motivation, and the social environment of the problem-solver. The two models have commonalities as well as well as differences. It is my hope to explain each, while comparing the two, and applying this knowledge to my own work.

J.P. Guilford developed a model for creativity based on the idea that creativity is a form of intelligence. Until Guilford released his research, psychologists were under the belief that creativity was a byproduct of intelligence, linking the two in a dependent relationship where high IQ means high creativity and vice versa. In his psychological model called “Structure of Intellect” Guilford used a factor analytic technique to separate intelligence into two forms of thinking: divergent and convergent thinking. Divergent thinking is the ability to access memory, from which one can derive numerous unique answers to a single problem; convergent thinking is the ability to come up with 1 correct answer for each question. (Explaining Creativity, Sawyer) Once Guilford developed this model he began to search for ways that he could measure divergent thinking in individuals. The test he developed is now known as Guilford’s Alternative Uses Task. The task is simple, or seemingly so: list as many possible uses for a common object. (i.e. a paperclip) Once completed test takers were scored on four components: originality, fluency, flexibility, and elaboration. Guilford found that these four components and some others are commonly seen in creative individuals. Guilford recognizes that in order to solve problems, one must first be able to articulate the deficiencies in common products or in social institutions. Fluency is the ability to think well and effortlessly. Fluency can be further broken down into four types: word, associational, expressional, and ideational fluency. Flexibility of thinking is another characteristic that exists in Guilford’s model. Flexibility can be further broken down into two categories: spontaneous flexibility and adaptive. Spontaneous flexibility is the ability to produce a great variety of ideas; Adaptive is the ability to generalize requirements of a problem to find a solution. Originality is the ability to from associations between elements that are remote from one another logically. The ability to elaborate is being able to fill in details given a general scheme. Additionally to these four traits creative types often also show the ability to redefine uses for common objects, are able to accept some uncertainty in conclusions when rigid categories are not being used. It is also useful for the individual to have an interest in both divergent and convergent thinking. (Measuring Creativity) In order to try and raise creativity levels individuals go through training programs that teach them to have these characteristics. However, this does not always mean the person becomes more creative for having these characteristics.

Teresa Amabile proposed her own model of creativity based on two...

Cited: Amabile, Teressa M. Componential Theory of Creativity. Harvard Business School. Harvard Business School, n.d. Web. .
"Measuring Creativity." All Psychology Careers. AllPsychologyCareers.com, n.d. Web. 01 Nov. 2013. .
Sawyer, R. Keith. Explaining Creativity: The Science of Human Innovation. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2006. Print.
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