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ERIC Number: EJ1177792
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018-Mar
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0022-0175
Defining Creativity: Don't We Also Need to Define What Is "Not" Creative?
Simonton, Dean Keith
Journal of Creative Behavior, v52 n1 p80-90 Mar 2018
I argue that any attempt to define creative ideas cannot fully succeed without also defining uncreative ideas. This argument begins by defining three parameters that characterize a potentially creative thought: the idea's initial probability (p), the final utility (u), and the creator's prior knowledge of that utility (v). The three parameters then lead to a three-criterion multiplicative definition of "personal creativity," namely, c = (1 - p)"u"(1 - v), where the first factor indicates "originality" and the third factor "surprise." Although creativity can only maximize as originality, utility, and surprise all approach unity, the same definition indicates that there are "seven" different ways that creativity can minimize. These alternatives were identified as (a) routine, reproductive, or habitual ideas, (b) fortuitous response bias, (c) irrational perseveration, (d) problem finding, (e) rational suppression, (f) irrational suppression, and (g) blissful ignorance. If the third parameter v is omitted, then the number of creative and noncreative outcomes reduces to just four, making creativity indistinguishable from irrational suppression. The alternative outcomes are then illustrated using the classic two-string problem. Besides providing a more finely differentiated conception of creativity failures, the definition has critical implications regarding the processes and procedures required to generate highly creative ideas.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A