ERIC Number: ED201276
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Apr
Formal Education, Eminence, and Dogmatism: The Curvilinear Relationship.
Simonton, Dean Keith
The relationship between formal education and creativity was investigated in two studies. A reanalysis of Cox's (1926) 301 geniuses indicated that achieved eminence of creators is a curvilinear inverted-U function of formal education. Secondly, a study of 33 American presidents found that dogmatism (i.e., idealistic inflexibility) is a curvilinear U-shaped function of formal education. Since creativity and dogmatism are negatively associated, and may represent opposite points on a single bipolar personality dimension, these findings imply that the optimal amount of formal education for maximal creative potential is a college experience that falls just short of attaining the baccalaureate degree. Up to the junior year formal education has a positive effect, probably through the acquisition of general knowledge and skills, but thereafter the increased specialization required for graduate and professional training seems to reverse creative growth. It is suggested that this result leads to several questions for further research, including possible implications for the design of postgraduate programs. Other questions for additional research include the following: the magnitude of education's effect upon creative development, whether the curvilinear relationship holds equally well across disciplines, and whether differences in native ability or scholastic performance affect the functional relationship between formal education and creativity. (Author/SW)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Los Angeles, CA, April 13-17, 1981).