Essay about The Nature of Creativity

Creativity is the ability to find new ideas that deviate from the accepted patterns of thinking, successfully solve problems in a non-standard way, and resolve the issues in certain fields of operation. Creativity involves viewing problems from a different angle and solving them in a unique way. Creative thinking is an essential skill in business, science, culture, art, politics, and other areas of life that involve competition. Many scientists tried to find the connection between creativity and intelligence, creativity and mental health, and creativity and genetics. Experiments show that creativity is more complex than it seems to be and has a strong connection to different fields of science; however, it continues to remain one of the main determinants of success later in life.

The question of connection between creativity and genetics was relevant for many years. The fact that many talented people were relatives evoke the hypothesis that creativity may be inherited from parents. Scientists have been conducting experiments on the role of genetics and environment for creativity since the late 60s. The first experiments did not find the influence of the genotype on most indicators of creativity. One of the most important studies was conducted with the participation of twins. When calculating the average pair-wise similarity of the twins by 11 indicators of creativity, the authors of the study concluded that the genotype determines no more than a quarter of the variance of these indicators. Similar results were obtained when summarizing the data of 10 studies of divergent thinking. They showed little connection between creativity and genetics. The low level of genetic conditionality of individual differences related to creativity and divergent thinking indicates that the development of creativity is largely associated with the environment in which people are raised. At the same time, many researchers are inclined to believe that even the low indicators of heritability that are found in the genetic analysis of creativity do not indicate the level of creativity and only show the level of general intelligence, which can be, to some extent, measured by creativity tests. Therefore, in one of the studies when examining the twin sample using 5 indicators of creativity, only one of the indicators (verbal associations) showed a connection with the genotype. The same indicator turned out to be most closely associated with the results of two intelligent tests: the Raven test and the dictionary test. In other words, the more the creativity indicator correlates with intelligence, the more its variability is associated with the genotype. However, the study showed no direct influence of genetics on creativity.

Studies also indicate the connection between different types of mental disorders and creativity. It is possible that severe mental disorders are more common among prominently creative people compared to ordinary people. This hypothesis was tested by comparing two samples of people and their level of creativity. Comparing people with mental health problems with creative people with mental health disorders can helped to find the possible link between mental disorders and creativity. In the past, schizophrenia and melancholy were believed to be associated with high creativity. The Italian psychiatrist Cesare Lombrozo argued that creativity is just one form of madness. Moreover, Californian psychologists have found a 10% increase in the prevalence of mental illness in creative people compared to others. Therefore, it can be argued that both destructive impulses and great creative impulses arise from one source: the desire to express thoughts and feelings, as fully and colorfully as possible, to reveal one’s inner world. Few authors believe that creative development is inherently based on healthy mental processes. Data also indicates the need for emotional stability to achieve life success. However, when people with bipolar disorder are leaving the depressive phase, their frontal lobe of the brain becomes very active, a similarly to when a person concentrates on a creative task. People with bipolar disorder also have a lot of creative ideas during the manic phase. The more thoughts a person has, the higher the likelihood that some of them are unique. According to Professor Elin Sachs of the University of Southern California, people with disabilities have a weaker mental filter. They can live in peace with two mutually exclusive ideas in their head, which helps them to find almost invisible connections in the world that others cannot notice. Nevertheless, some scholars dispute the link between creativity and mental disorders. According to this school of thought, although creativity and madness can coexist, such a rule is not necessarily the norm. Harvard psychology professor Albert Rotenberg, for example, had conversations with 45 Nobel laureates and did not find any disorders in any of them. Therefore, the relation between creativity and mental illnesses is not a norm.

Many scientists tried to find the connection between creativity and IQ. Experiments have shown that people with not very high IQs are capable of remarkable achievements. The traditional testing of IQ is focused on the evaluation of the trains of character not connected to creativity. As a result, many scientists conduct the tests that show no direct relation of intelligence and creativity. It is common that many people perceive the people with higher IQ as more creative. However, scientists suggest that the only connection between creativity and intelligence is their relativity to overall mental talent. One of the most remarkable scientific experiments related to the question of intelligence and creativity was conducted by L. Termen. The duration of the experiment was 6 years. Termen and his colleagues tested and selected 1,500 students with IQ higher than 136 and observed their actions and consequences of their choices for many years. Researchers contacted participants 4 times in their lifetime and asked personal questions about their social position, salary, and marriage. The experiment found that ask of the participants managed to graduate from universities with high marks, find well-paid jobs and live happy lives. Overall, their social activity was better developed and they were able to find more opportunities for personal growth. On the other hand, they didn’t manage to connect their work paths with creativity. Most of them worked as managers, accountants, analysts, and economists. Consequently, L. Termen did not find a direct connection between intelligence and creativity. After his study, few more scientists carried out similar experiments and did not find the coveted connection.

Creativity is a complex and intricate phenomenon. It covers a variety of theoretical and practical areas of its study. Some researchers have noted that the process of understanding what creativity is also requires creative action. Creativity is manifested in the development of entirely new systems, in a new combination of already known information, as well as the application of well-known approaches to entirely new situations.
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