Creativity and New York

Topics: Creativity, Human brain, Brainstorming Pages: 22 (6157 words) Published: September 22, 2007
Defining creativity

How do we define creativity? The most frequent answers are "new", "unique". "different", and "better". The dictionary provides little assistance: "creativity: the ability to create". Creativity consultant Joyce Wycoff (1991) defines creativity as "new and useful". Creativity is the act of "seeing things that everyone around us sees while making connections that no on else has made." (p. 22)

At the other end of the spectrum, B.F Skinner (1974), the foremost expert on behaviorist theory, describes creative individuals as very good at generating mutations. He points out that people who produce more mutations are more likely to generate one that is reinforcing. The behaviorist theory falls short because it fails to recognize or explain the uniqueness of individuals.

In the classic book Science and Human Values, (Harper & Row. 1956) J. Bronowski states that the creative activity of the scientist and the artist are the same. Creativity is an attempt to discover "hidden likeness" in the universe. It is a search for recognition and order.

Many writers and artists have described creativity as something external to the body. They believe that the source of inspiration exists outside the person. Author Joseph Heller describes his own experience. "I don't understand the process of imagination though I know that I am very much at its mercy. I feel like these ideas are floating around in the air and they pick me to settle upon. The ideas come to me. I don't produce them at will" (Zdenek, 1983, p.10).

In contrast, business analysis Scott Witt (1983) believes that new ideas are never original, but rather, they involve the combining and adaptation of other people's ideas. He refers to the brightest people in business, science and arts, as Creative Copycats because their ideas are an adaptation of other products, formulas or systems.

Child development author Joseph Chilton Pearce describes creativity as "moving from the known to the unknown." Culture exerts a negative force on creativity according to Pearce, however, "were it not for creativity, culture itself would not be created". (Pearce, 1974, p. 23)

Donald Hebb, one of the foremost theoreticians on the subject of the human brain, believes that "every normal human being is creative all the time...it is not something that occurs only in outstanding individuals". (Restak, 1984, p. 228)

Creativity is an expression of our unique perspective to a situation or problem. It transcends our desire to be part of the group. Abraham Maslow referred to self-actualization as the need to express our individual talents and become the best that we can. It is a drive to fulfill our potential. Maslow identified fifteen traits of a self-actualized person. These included highly valued traits such as self-acceptance, spontaneity, independence, tolerance, altruism, ethics, and capable of loving others. (Wycoff, 1991, p. 24)

Wycoff (1991, p. 26) identifies four traits found in creative people:

1) They are willing to take risks and have the courage to be wrong.

2) They are willing to express their thoughts and feelings.

3) They have a sense of humor.

4) They accept and trust their own intuition.

David Perkins, of Harvard University, has identified several other traits common in creative people: (Wycoff, 1991, p. 27)

5) They have a drive to find order in a chaotic situation.

6) They are interested in unusual problems, as well as solutions.

7) They have the ability to make new connections and challenge traditional assumptions.

8) They temper idea creation by testing and judgment.

9) They enjoy pushing the boundaries of their competence.

10) They are motivated by the problem itself, rather than any kind of reward or recognition.

Wycoff believes that the traits of creativity can be taught. She points out the near total failure of our educational system to encourage and teach these characteristics. In fact, it would seem that our...

References: Bauer, W. "Neuroelectric Medicine." Journal of Bioelectricity, Vol. 2, No. 2 & 3 (1983) p. 382-383.
Berman, M. 1989. Coming to Our Senses: Body and Spirit in the Hidden History of the West. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Buresova, O. and Bures, J. "Piracetam-Induced Facilitation of Interhemispheric Transfer of Visual Information in Rats," Psychopharmacologia, Vol. 46 (1976) p. 93-102.
Dean, W. and Morgenthaler, J. 1990. Smart Drugs & Nutrients. Santa Cruz: B&J Publications.
Dilanni, M., et. al. "The Effects of Piracetam in Children with Dyslexia," Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology, Vol. 5 (1985) p. 272-278.
Edwards, B. 1987. Drawing on the Artist Within. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Ferguson, M. 1990. PragMagic. New York: Pocket Books.
Green, E. and Green, A. 1977. Beyond Biofeedback. New York: Delacorte.
Hutchison, M. 1986. Megabrain: New Tools and Techniques for Brain Growth and Mind Expansion. New York: Ballantine.
Khatena, J. 1978. The Creatively Gifted Child: Suggestions for Parents and Teachers. New York: Vantage Press.
Kneller, G. 1965. The Art and Science of Creativity. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
Martone, L. and Fredenburgh, F. 1973. Exploring Human Behavior: Student Study Guide. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
Michalko, M. 1991. Thinkertoys: A Handbook of Businees Creativity for the 90 's. Berkeley: Ten Speed Press.
Oster, G. "Auditory Beats in the Brain," Scientific American, (Sept, 1973).
Pearce, J. C. 1974. Exploring the Crack in the Cosmic Egg. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Restak, R. 1984. The Brain. New York: Bantam.
Skinner, B.F. 1974. About Behaviorism. New York: Random House.
Talbot, M. 1988. Beyond the Quantum. New York: Bantam.
Tart, C. 1972. Altered States of Consciousness. New York: Doubleday.
Taylor, T. "Learning Studies for Higher Cognitive Levels in a Short-Term Sensory Isolation Environment." Paper delivered at the first International Conference on REST and Self-Regulation, Denver, Colo. (March 17, 1983).
von Oech, R. 1990. A Whack on the Side of the Head. New York: Warner Books.
Witt, S. 1983. How to be Twice as Smart. New York: Parker.
Wycoff, J. 1991. Mindmapping: Your Personal Guide to Exploring Creativity and Problem-Solving. New York: Berkley Books.
Zdenek, M. 1983. The Right Brain Experience. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Donovan, R., "Plugged into the Idea Generator." Writer 's Digest, Vol. 71, No. 3 (March, 1991) p. 66-68.
Ferguson, M., "Retrospective: Unlocking the Mystery of Creativity," Mind/Brain Bulletin, Vol. 15, No. 12 (September, 1990).
Ferguson, M., "On Doing Creative Science: Researcher Offers Hints," Mind/Brain Bulletin, Vol. 15, No. 12 (September, 1990).
Greeley, A., "Bricolage Among the Trash Cans," Society, Vol. 30, No. 2 (January-February, 1993) p. 70-75.
Leschak, P., "The Five-Step Creativity Workout," Writer 's Digest, Vol. 70, No. 11 (November, 1991) p. 4-29.
Marken, G.A., "Nurturing Creativity in a Productive Society," Public Relations Quarterly, Vol. 36, No. 4 (Winter, 1991) p. 31-32.
Meyer, J., "Substitute Reinforcement: A Major Psychological Source of Creative Capacity," Education, Vol. 110, No. 3 (Spring, 1990) p. 369-373.
Renzulli, J., "A General Theory for the Development of Creative Productivity Through the Pursuit of Ideal Acts of Learning," Gifted Child Quarterly, Vol. 36, No. 4 (Fall, 1992) p. 170-182.
Runco, M., "Divergent Thinking, Creativity, and Giftedness," Gifted Child Quarterly, Vol. 37, No. 1 (Winter, 1993), p. 16-22.
Schack, G., "Effects of a Creative Problem-Solving Curriculum on Students of Varying Ability Levels," Gifted Child Quarterly, Vol. 37, No. 1 (Winter, 1993), p. 32-38.
Schwartz, A. , "Using Brainstorming to Identify Creative Solutions," Supervisory Management, Vol. 36, No. 10 (October, 1991), p. 4.
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Rising Sea Levels in New York City Essay
  • creativity principles Essay
  • Essay about New York
  • New York, New York Essay
  • New York, New York Essay
  • New York New York Essay
  • Creativity Essay
  • Creativity Essay

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free