The Cultural Contribution on the Expression of Creativity What is creativity? Some may define creativity as the capacity to produce something innovative, new, and clearly artistic, something the world has yet to see. Cross culturally, this loose definition could not fully extend to other cultures, like Eastern cultures. Since the expansion of the study of creativity into a field in itself, many psychologists would define creativity in two segments, novelty and appropriateness. For a product to be novel it must be original, meaning it is completely different from other products created before. The next aspect a product must have to be creative is appropriateness. The product must be relevant to the task presented and accomplish attempted goals. Creativity is more than an expression of art and utility, creativity is an expression of culture. Creativity is an outlet for cultures to stand out amongst other nations. Through creativity, culture’s can express their value system, what is considered right and wrong in and socially acceptable. Creativity is also a preview to the potential of certain societies and cultures. This means, that the products that are being produced by certain societies are clues to even greater innovations in the future. The expression of creativity also plays into the world economy, fueling competition between eastern and western cultures. Which side of the world can be the most innovative, fastest, who can appeal to the masses, cross culturally and who can be the most futuristic as well as sustain the upper hand in the eyes and pockets of consumers. Although eastern and western economies [China and America], have fused together slightly, making the desire for capital a collective one, there are still differences in the types of products being produced by the different societies. The expression of creativity as well as the reception of creative products gives insight into the collective mindset of the culture. The traits for a creative person, being individualistic, tolerant of ambiguity, risk taker, innovative, and unconventional, appear to some degree in a person regardless of the culture they are living in. What is not the same cross culturally are guiding principles of that society. Eastern cultures tend to be more collectivist. Eastern cultures prioritize the goals of the group over that of the individual. Being a part of a collectivist society, there is a large priority on interdependence. Meaning everyone in that society is mutually reliant on fellow countrymen. For Western cultures, the focus is centered upon the philosophy of individualism. In an individualist society, the individual is at the center and a high value is place on independence and self-reliance. The goals and desires of the individual are placed over the goals of the social group. It is these philosophies unconsciously guide people in one creative direction or the other. They also dictate what is actually considered creative, by that particular societies value system. Eastern cultures put a high value on usefulness whereas Western cultures consider originality and novelty to usefulness. “From the Lens of culture, the universality of creativity is distinct but the manifestation of creativity is diverse” (Craft, 2008; Simonton & Shing-Shiang, 2010). This paper will explore the effects of culture on the individual and his or her production of creativity. Concepts about the origins of creativity will be discussed, where did creativity originate in Eastern and Western societies, and what effect did its origins have on the social norms and values of that society. Also the cultural difference will be looked at and how those differences play a role in an individual’s creative production. A brief encounter with emotions and creativity will also be addressed, specifically the Confucian goal of East Asian societies. Lastly, the function of creativity and its role within societies will be explored. To...
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