Creative Process Charles Burack, Ph.D. PYC 4217 Psychology of Creativity Revised July 30 2014 1 Cognitive Approach to Studying the Creative Process Study the cognitive abilities that everyone shares, such as cognitive structures, memory, and attention Generally propose stage models of creativity 2-stage balloon model: 1) use divergent thinking to generate many possibilities; 2) use convergent thinking to pick the best idea
(Sawyer, 2012) Sawyers (2012) 8-stage model Wallass (1926) 4-stage model: 1) preparation; 2) incubation; 3) illumination; 4) verification 2 2-Stage Geneplore Model Creativity involves an interplay of generative and exploratory processes (Finke, Ward, & Smith, 1992) Stage 1, Generative processes: include memory retrieval, association, mental synthesis, transformation, analogical transfer, and category reduction; are assumed to result in candidate ideas (sometimes called preinventive forms/structures) that are not necessarily complete creative solutions but represent possible starting points (ambiguous, preliminary, or prototype versions of an idea) that either facilitate or inhibit creative outcomes
Stage 2, Exploratory processes: the creative potential of selected ideas is then developed by way of specific exploratory processes that modify, elaborate, consider the implications, assess the limitations, or otherwise transform the preinventive structures; expand on the creative potential of the structures; the model assumes that people can use properties, such as apparent novelty and aesthetic appeal, to determine which structures should be retained for further processing 3 8 Stages of the Creative Process 1. Find and formulate the problem 2. Acquire knowledge relevant to the problem 3. Gather a broad range of potentially related information 4. Take time off for incubation 5. Generate a large variety of ideas
6. Combine ideas in unexpected ways 7. Select the best ideas, applying relevant criteria 8. Externalize the idea using materials and representations Source: Sawyer (2012, pp. 89-90; boldface added) 4 1. Find and Formulate the Problem Creativity as a form of problem solving (Flavell & Draguns, 1957; Newell, Shaw, & Simon, 1962; Guilford, 1967; Kaufmann, 1988; Klahr, 2000; Klahr & Simon, 1999). Problem solving occurs in an imaginary problem solving space; one needs to find a solution path through the space from the starting state to the goal (Newell et al., 1962)
A problem exists when there is a discrepancy between an initial state and a goal state, and there is no ready-made solution for the problem solver (Bransford & Stein, 1984, p. 7)(boldface added) 5 2. Acquire Knowledge Relevant to the Problem Learn the symbols, language, and conventions of the domain 10-Year Rule first discovered for expert telegraphers (Bryan & Harter, 1899) 10-Year Rule for international-level chess players (Simon & Chase, 1973) 10-Year Rule for wide range of domains (Gardner, 1993) 10-Year Rule for top professionals (Ericsson, Krampe, & TeschRomer, 1993; Ericsson et al., 2006); engage in at least 10,000 hours of deliberate practice
Information encoding is facilitated by devoting time to factual information, discounting irrelevant information, and attending to inconsistent information (Mumford et al. 1996) Exceptional creativity is supported by early learning (John-Steiner, 1985) and mentoring (Zuckerman, 1974; Torrance, 1983) 6 3. Gather a Broad Range of Potentially Related Information Exceptional creators effectively and efficiently use appropriate categories to see gaps and difficulties (Perkins, 1981) Visual perception is constructed in the visual cortex from neuronal input from senses and from higher brain regions
7 4. Take Time Off for Incubation Creative solutions often incubate while a person stops working on a problem, engages in an unrelated activity, or works on another problem (Csikszentmihalyi & Sawyer, 1995, Sawyer, 2012). Unconscious processing has a greater information capacity than conscious processing and operates in parallel (Dijksterhuis & Nordgren, 2006; Lieberman et al., 2002). Research evidence for incubation effect: value of interruptions for performance on RAT and puzzles (Patrick, 1986; Beeftink, van Eerde, & Rutte, 2008). Talk aloud procedure (conscious, verbal processing) can interfere with creativity (Schooler, Ohlsson, & Brooks, 1993) Much of everyday creativity is conscious and directed (Sternberg, 2003)
Creative benefit of instruction to be creative (Howard-Jones et al., 2005) 8 How Incubation Works In sum, theres experimental evidence [that] incubation works because it gives peoples minds a rest. . . provides time for spreading activation [via minds semantic network] in the unconscious mind . . . provides opportunities for opportunistic assimilation [due to environmental stimuli cueing failure indices in long-term memory] (Sawyer, 2012, p. 103; see also Seifert et al. 1995; boldface added) 9
5. Generate a Large Variety of Ideas Fixation on incorrect solutions (which often happens in the tip-of-the tongue phenomenon and when misleading hints or examples are given), as well as structured imagination (based on assumed properties), interfere with our capacity to generate original solutions (Roediger & Neely, 1982; Smith & Dodds, 1999; Smith, 1995; Reason & Lucas, 1984; Smith & Blankenship, 1989; Finke et al., 1992) Many people generate the solution to an insight problem without realizing it (Kotovsky, 2003; Beeman & Bowden, 2000; Bowers et al. 1990) Eliminating false assumptions only makes it slightly easier to solve insight problems (Weisberg & Alba, 1981) Solving insight problems often requires expertise and prior
experience 10 6. Combine Ideas in Unexpected Ways Creative cross-fertilization often occurs when people work on multiple projects and in multiple domains (Koestler, 1964; Simonton, 1988) The most relevant mental processes to creativity are probably conceptual combination, metaphor, and analogy (Mumford & Gustafson, 1988; Ward, Smith, & Vaid, 1997) Conceptual combination is a process whereby previously separate ideas, concepts, or other forms are mentally merged. The elements to be combined can be words, concepts, visual forms, and other simple elements, or at a more abstract level, they can be hypothetical scientific constructs, mystical styles, artistic genres, and so on (Ward & Kolomyts, p. 2010, p. 101).
Emergent attributes are more likely to occur when less related concepts are combined (Hampton, 1987); emergent attributes are salient properties that are either absent from or very low in salience for the representations of either of their components elements(Ward & Kolomyts, 2010, p. 101). (boldface added) 11 Concepts as Data Structure Schema and frame models present concepts as data structures; each concept is mentally stored as a set of properties (attributes) with values (variable quantities, qualities) for each property (Sawyer, 2012) Schema: mental frameworks for representing knowledge that encompass an array of interrelated concepts in a meaningful
organization (Sternberg & Mio, 2009) Frames: schemas that represents the physical structure of the environment 12 (Kellogg, 2003) Various Types of Combinations Simple (especially for combining similar concepts): selective modification (Smith & Osherson, 1984; adjectives property and value modify property of noun); attribute inheritance (Hampton, 1987; combination inherits all of properties of component concepts but must not inherit impossible features and must inherit necessary features; car boat); Complex (especially for combining very different concepts): emergence (Wisneiwski, 1997; boomerang flu); property
mapping (Wisniewski & Gentner, 1991; merge just one value from one concept with second concept; pony chair); concept specialization (Cohen & Murphy, 1984; influence of general knowledge; apartment dog); structure mapping; concept transfer 13 More on Combinations The dissimilarity (not just opposition) of the components of a combination determines the extent to which they will yield emergent properties; second interpretations yielded more emergent properties, especially for similar pairs, indicating that people may use up their easiest interpretation first and then engage in more creative exploration to produce a second interpretation (Wilkenfeld and Ward, 2001)
Merging visually presented abstract forms can lead to emergent new ideas (Rothenberg & Sobel, 1980) Forced re-interpretation of ones own combination increases creativity; often produces an illusion of intentionality (Finke 1990) 14 Metaphors The Greek root of metaphor means carrying from one place to another (Abrams, 1988, p. 65) In literature, a metaphor is a figure of speech involving a word or expression which in literal usage denotes one kind of thing or action is applied to a distinctly different kind of thing or action, without asserting a comparison [i.e. without using like or as] (Abrams, 1988, p. 65) Concept transfer occurs in metaphors; metaphors map features/information from one concept to another; specifically, they map a
vehicle concept onto topic (tenor) concept: Business is war (topic is business; vehicle is war) (Genter, 1989; Richards, 1936) "Metaphor is for most people a device of the poetic imagination and the rhetorical flourish --a matter of extraordinary language rather than ordinary language. . . . We have found, on the contrary, that metaphor is pervasive in everyday life, not just in language but in thought and action. Our ordinary conceptual system, in terms of which we both think and act, is fundamentally metaphorical in nature." (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980, p.3) 15 More on Metaphor In his book, Nature, Ralph Waldo Emerson said, The world is emblematic. . . .the whole of nature is a metaphor of the human mind. The laws of moral nature answer to those of matter . . . . The axioms of physics translate the laws of ethics. Thus, the
whole is greater than its part; reaction is equal to action. . . . Every property of matter is a school for the understanding (Nature, pp. 16, 19). In his essay, Education by Poetry (1931).Robert Frost said, What I am pointing out is that unless you are at home in the metaphor, unless you have had your proper poetical education in the metaphor, you are not safe anywhere. Because you are not at ease with figurative values: you dont know the metaphor in its strength and its weakness. You dont know how far you may expect to ride it and when it may break down with you. You are not safe with science; you are not safe in history. (boldface added) 16 Analogies Analogy: A similarity in some respects between things that are otherwise dissimilar (American Heritage Dictionary, 2011, p. 64); Gr.
ana=according to; Gr. logos=speech word, reason, proportion Analogical reasoning or transfer is the application or projection of knowledge from a familiar domain to a novel or less familiar one (Ward & Kolomyts, 2010, p. 104) Analogies involve concept transfer and map from a base (source) domain to a target (Genter, 1989); in Earth is like a living organism, the base is a living organism and the target is Earth. Analogizing is realiz[ing] that two apparently different things share important properties or functions. . . . It is critical to this process that analogies not be confused with similarities. Analogies recognize a correspondence of inner relationship or of function between two (or more) different phenomena or complex sets of phenomena. (Root-Bernstein & Root-Bernstein, 1999, pp. 25, 142). (emphasis added) 17 Imagery
The most novel invented images tend to bring together unusual parts (Finke & Slayton, 1988) There appear to be creative benefits of combining visual materials without a specific goal in mind (i.e., without choosing or being assigned in advance the category) and then later interpreting them in an exploratory phase of processing (Finke 1990) (boldface added) 18 Changing Instructions to Enhance Creativity Instructions to identify shared and unshared features of different categories
facilitated the generation of more original and higher quality combinations (Baughman & Mumford, 1995) Feature-mapping instructions contribute to the originality and quality of combining related categories (Mumford et al., 1997) Metaphor instructions contribute to the originality and quality of combining unrelated categories (Mumford et al., 1997) 19 Models of Different Types of Insights Ohlssons (1992) 3 forms of restructuring: 1) elaboration (add new information to the original, incomplete representation) ; 2) re-encoding (reject some of original interpretation and develop new
representation; 3) constraint relaxation (change inappropriate representation of goal state) Bodens (2004) 3 types of creativity: 1) combinatorial (combine familiar concepts; no change to conceptual space), 2) exploratory (use existing styles or rules within existing space to identify a new point), 3) transformational (alter a defining dimension of the space) 20 Sternbergs Propulsion Model Sternberg (1999) proposed that there are eight types of creative contributions: 1) replication (field is unchanged); 2) redefinition (redefine field from different viewpoint); 3) forward incrementation (move field in current direction); 4) advance forward incrementation (move field rapidly in
current direction); 5) redirection (redirect field to different direction); 6) reconstruction (move field back to an imagined past state but with goal of redirecting); 7) reinitiation (start field from scratch); 8) integration (integrate two formerly distinct ways of thinking) 21 7. Select the Best Ideas, Applying Relevant Criteria Consciously evaluate and select the most useful, appropriate, or worthwhile ideas Evaluation of novelty and appropriateness is based on internalized model of the domain and field (Bink & Marsh, 2000; Csikszentmihalyi & Sawyer,
1995) Evaluation occurs in all stages of the process Strong relationship between productivity and significant creations (Simonton, 1988): the most eminent creators were often the most productive, and during their most productive periods they were more likely to produce a significant creation 22 Evaluation Accuracy Laboratory studies show that evaluation accuracy is related to idea generation (Runco, 1991, 2003; Runco & Dow, 2004; Silvia, 2008) People are more accurate in rating: 1) their own ideas for uniqueness; 2) others ideas
for popularity (Runco & Chand, 1994; Runco & Smith, 1992) 23 Evaluation Criteria 12 commonly used evaluation criteria (Blair & Mumford, 2007): 1) risky; 2) easy to understand; 3) original; 4) complete description; 5) complicated; 6) consistent with existing social norms; 7) high probability of success; 8) easy to implement; 9) benefits many people; 10) produces desires societal rewards; 11) time and effort required to implement; 12) complexity of implementation
Two main issues considered when evaluating new ideas: 1) resources needed for implementation; 2) consequences of implementation (Dailey & Mumford, 2006) 24 8. Externalize the Idea Using Materials and Representations Largely involves conscious and directed thinking Occurs throughout the creative process Successful creators are skilled at executing their ideas, predicting how others might react to them and being prepared to respond, identifying the necessary resources to make them successful, forming plans for implementing the ideas, and improvising to adjust their plans as new information arises (Sawyer, 2012, pp. 133-134)
Eminent creators often externalize their early thoughts and intuitions in sketches, brief notebook entries, and quick prototypes, using an inner shorthand or languages of the mind often involving visual images or analogies (John-Steiner, 1985). (boldface added) 25 Choosing the Best Externalization Approach Sketches can help people discover and solve problems and come up with improvements to inventions (Verstijnen, 1997; Meyer, 1989) Some problems are more easily solved verbally, while others are more easily solved visually or mathematically (Halpern, 1989; Hayes, 1989) Choosing an impropriate externalization can impede progress in problem solving
Mental visualization is useful for solving simple problems (Finke et al., 1992) Physical gesturing can assist story telling and problem solving (McNeill, 1992; Schwartz, 1995) 26 Critique of Stage Models Stage models imply a chronological sequence, but creativity often occur in a nonlinear way Creative stages can overlap, cycle repeatedly, or appear in reverse order (Sawyer, 20012) Stages could be considered disciplines or habits of mind (Burnard el., 2006; Scott et al., 2004)
27 Critique of Cognitive Approach Does not adequately address the social, cultural, affective, biological, and spiritual dimensions of the creative process 28
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