This commentary examines the social perspective on creativity, as presented in the featured article. There are several attractive aspects to the social perspective, but serious limitations as well, which are detailed in this commentary. The assumptions of the social perspective are also discussed. The most questionable of these assumes that social recognition and impact are inherent parts of creativity. The parsimonious alternative is to define creativity such that it includes only what is related to creativity per se and to recognize that social recognition may follow creation and is certainly extricable from it. A defence of this parsimonious view is presented. A brief discussion of possible crises in the field of creativity studies is also presented, with one suggestion being that the diverse approaches used in the field represent a kind of divergent thinking and as such represent progress, even though it is not linear. This commentary concludes with a discussion about creativity being vital for quality of life. That perspective differs dramatically from the product view of creativity which is often tied to a social perspective.
A measure of ideational behaviour, often used to estimate the potential for creative thinking, was administered to 796 children and their parents and teachers. Correlations among groups were explored. The data provided an opportunity to (a) compare four theories of creativity (a one-factor theory, 2 two-factor theories, and a three-factor theory) and (b) determine empirically how the measure of ideation should be scored (based on its empirical structure). Results of confirmatory factor analyses indicated that one of the twofactor theories (Process and Product) best fit the data and was useful for comparisons of the children and their parents and teachers. Practical implications of the differences between parents and teachers are explored. Any effort to fulfil creative potentials, for example, would probably be the most likely to succeed if children, parents, and teachers agreed, and just as probable are difficulties if the three groups disagreed or considered different things when judging creative potential. Limitations of the study are also discussed.
Personal obstacles to creativity were investigated by sampling 297 Arab women from four Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries: Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The Obstacles to Personal Creativity Inventory, as self-report, was used. It assesses four types of obstacles (a) inhibition/shyness, (b) lack of time/opportunity, (c) social repression, and (d) lack of motivation. The results showed that the highest mean was reported for the lack of time/opportunities factor, followed in order by the three other factors: lack of motivation, inhibition/shyness, and social repression. (A high mean is indicative of more obstacles.) A multivariate analysis of variance indicated that reported obstacles to creativity significantly differed by field of study. Women in the arts reported experiencing fewer obstacles related to social repression in comparison with women in engineering, who showed the highest mean. No significant effects were observed for level of education, country and income in the GCC countries. The MANOVA also showed significant interactions between (a) education and sector (i.e., government vs private), (b) country and sector, (c) income and field of study, and finally (d) between field of study and sector. Results from this study were compared to two other studies, in Brazil and Mexico, that used the Obstacles to Personal Creativity Inventory. The high mean found for the lack of motivation in GCC countries deserves further investigation, given that motivation is so important for creativity and often is something that can be encouraged.
Divergent thinking (DT) tests are probably the most commonly used measures of creative potential. Several extensive batteries are available but most research relies on one or two specific tests rather than a complete battery. This may limit generalizations because tests of DT are not equivalent. They are not always highly inter-correlated. Additionally, some DT tests appear to be better than others at eliciting originality. This is critical because originality is vital for creativity. The primary purpose of the present study was to determine which test of DT elicits the most originality. Seven measures of DTwere administered on a sample of 611 participants in eight Arabic countries. The tests were Figural, Titles, Realistic Presented Problems, Realistic Problem Generation, Instances, Uses, and Similarities. The Quick Test of Convergent Thinking, Runco’s Ideational Behavior Scale, and a demographic questionnaire were also administered. A linear mixed model analysis confirmed that the originality scores in the DT tests differed by test. Post-hoc tests indicated that the Titles and Realistic Problem Generation tests produced the highest mean originality scores, whereas the Realistic Presented Problems test produced the lowest mean originality scores. These differences confirm that research using only one DT test will not provide generalizable results.
Creative things are always original, but they must be more than just original. They must also have some utility, effectiveness, or value. The present research tested the psychoeconomic definition of “value” and examined how value ratings fluctuated when individuals worked in groups or alone. This psychoeconomic definition of value is very different from that found in previous studies. It was based on ratings obtained after the students participating had been told that their grades depended on their teamwork. Previous studies have used hypothetical ratings of value, but here the ratings were meaningful: there was a contingency placed on making a good decision, and that decision focused on creative teamwork. This investigation also tested the idea that originality and value are both required for creativity. Psychoeconomic theory not only offers an objective and behavioural index of value. It also offers predictions about the “social costs” of working in groups. To test these ideas individuals received two tests of divergent thinking, either while alone (no social cost), working in a small group (low cost), or working in a larger group (high cost). Social preferences were controlled, as was extraversion. Results indicate that fluency did not diminish when the social costs were present. Moreover, originality increased when participants worked in groups. Findings also demonstrated that value judgments can be reliably assessed and that the interaction of value and originality accounted for a significant amount of the variability in creativity ratings.