Creativity is a category of philosophy, psychology, and culture, expressing the most important meaning of human activity, consisting in increasing the diversity of the human world in the process of cultural migration. Creativity is a hierarchically structured unity of abilities inherent in an individual, which determines the level and quality of mental processes aimed at adapting to changing and unknown conditions in sensorimotor, visual, operational-activity and logical-theoretical forms. Creativity is also a particular aspect of personality development, referring to the transition to a high intellectual level. A creative individual stands out from the population in that he can solve a specific range of continually arising tasks with higher quality for the same time. People of creative labor form a social group whose function is to resolve particular problems of the intellectual and spiritual type.
Some cultural epochs are identified with the predicate “creative” high social appraisal. In recent years the term “creativity” has been used as a designation for some hypothetical aggregate of psychological research subjects. Keywords related to this field are giftedness, originality, fantasy, intuition, inspiration, technical invention, scientific discovery, a work of art. In general, the term “creativity” serves as a program slogan that performs a stimulating and integrative function in scientific research but has not reached the strictness of the scientific concept. The variety of its meanings embraces the spheres of personality, process, and result, often without their clear distinction. There is no unity in what properties a person, process, and its product should have to get a creative name, under what conditions the result is judged as creative. Relatively common is the definition of creativity as the fact that some group from its expectations system is perceived as new and thereby modifies this system. As the prerequisites for creativity are considered increased susceptibility, pleasure from a sudden idea and independence of thinking. Creativity is usually understood as an open system, ready to perceive a whole horizon of alternative variants, which also has a wide range of interpretations – from the limited “adventurous thinking” (F. Bertlet) to the uncertainty of “divergent thinking” (J.Gilford).
Antiquity saw in the work of man’s desire to recreate the perfect samples; imperfect, albeit God-like art; creative ability was understood as a divine obsession; in the late heroism – as a competition with the gods and wisdom, contemplative theoretical knowledge was judged above the ecstatic creative work. The Middle Ages compel the creative subject to anonymity, affirm his limitations, sinfulness, and incompatibility with the divine creation, while revealing the willful nature of the creative act creating a new and in this sense, as it were, creating from nothing. Revival cultivates both sublime and mundane understanding of creativity: as an innovative art (humanism) and as a work of salvation (reformation), first revealing an interest in both authorship and the creative process. New time sees creativity as an ingenious combinatorial or contrasts it with a universal and available method, logic and intelligence. At the same time, the theory of “creative perception” (J. Berkley) develops, the idea of ”productive imagination” (I. Kant, F. Schelling, romance), according to which creativity is a fundamental premise of cognition in general.
Theories of the Enlightenment did not go beyond the juxtaposition of talent and genius, innate and divine creativity, intelligence and insanity as sources of creativity (Goethe, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche). The philosophy of life contrasts creative rationality with creative rationality (A. Bergson) or cultural and historical activity (V.Dilthey). Existentialist theories interpret creativity concerning inner experience: as a “meeting”, “self-actualization”, “ultimate experience”, “readiness for a new birth” (E.From, K.Rogers, A.Maslow). The theories of deep psychology that follow from Z. Freud emphasizes the role of the unconscious in creativity and interprets it as “the realization of a child’s dream”, “narcissistic ideology” (O. Rank), “managing intuition through archetypes” (K.Young), “the result of compensatory projects of life goals “(A. Adler). Pragmatic and related theories of creativity identify it with the combinational invention, solving situational problems (J. Dewey).
The nature of the creative process
In the psychological research of the creative process, most researchers rely on the four-link model proposed by G. Wallace in 1926:
- the preparatory stage – the formulation of the task and the initial attempts to solve it;
- the incubation of the idea – a temporary abandonment of efforts to solve and switching to other questions;
- illumination – instant, intuitive penetration into the essence of the problem;
- verification – testing and (or) implementation of the solution.
All stages of the creative process are a complex interaction of consciously selected strategies for solving the problem, ordering data on the issue of interest to the researcher and unconscious attitudes, preferences, value orientations, fragments of information. At the same time, the first and last stages are predominantly conscious, the second and the third are unconscious. Modifications of this scheme are usually associated with the breakdown of individual stages into sub-stages.
The key moment of the creative process is insight, insight. The problem, which for a long time worried the researcher and did not yield to the solution, suddenly appears from a different angle. As a result, contradictory information components are compatible, or the missing piece of information is found. The inconsistency and (or) incompleteness of the problem situation are removed, giving way to a sense of beauty and harmony of the solution found. Usually, the insight is accompanied by strong positive emotions and the conviction that a solution has been found, although often at this moment the author cannot justify it, even formulate it. Insight is preceded by the incubation stage of the idea, when the creator (scientist, artist, composer) for some time “forgets” about the problem, doing daily business or solving other tasks. Researchers put forward various explanations for the fruitfulness of the stage of incubation: switching efforts to other objects allows you to “rest” from the problem, forgetting the previously used and ineffective methods of solving problems. Consciousness at this time does not interfere with the activities of the unconscious, directing it under the own strategies proved to be unfruitful; a significant part of life takes rest, and already by its duration creative solutions follow it. Prospects for the analysis of the creative process are associated with the study and reconstruction of human thinking precisely at the stages of predominantly unconscious processing of information.
The nature of the creative person
One of the keys to understanding the nature of creativity is the ability to operate with conflicting information effectively. This may be due to the specifics of the organization of the internal mental space when contradictory and incomplete descriptions of states become a natural component of the world picture. The features of the organization of associative networks and the conceptual structures of creative personalities provide an increase in the dimension of subjective semantic space, which in turn makes it possible to reduce the degree of coarsening of information during its categorization and coding, and also to use more complex and branched structures to accommodate new information. Other creative qualities of the person are high intuition, discernment of deeper meanings and consequences of the perceived, self-confidence and at the same time dissatisfaction with the situation in which the subject reveals himself, openness to the perception of both the external and internal world. Creative individuals are highly motivated, demonstrate a significant level of energy, have reflexive thinking, from which they enjoy themselves, are independent, unconformal, and have a low level of socialization. At the same time, studies do not support the hypothesis of the exclusively sublimational nature of creativity, linking creativity with frustration. Despite the well-known stories about the eccentricities of talents and geniuses, it is proved that neuroticism and stress reduce the creative ability up to its complete blockage.
Main methodological approaches
The biographical method was proposed in the framework of the first empirical studies of creativity (K. Lombroso, F. Galton) and was practiced until the 1950s (H. Ellis, L. Terman, R. Cattell). It combines studies in which the biographies of famous scientists or cultural figures and related episodes from the history of the development of science and art are analyzed. This can be both evidence-reports of the creators themselves, and the work of their biographers or methodologists of science. They contain valuable empirical material, immersed in a specific historical, social and cultural context (as opposed to laboratory strategies of the psychometric direction). Supporters of this approach are often accused of subjectivism in the selection of biographies and their analysis. The introspectionist approach, which treats creativity as an individual personal experience, which is difficult to generalize, adjoins the biographical. His main methods are interviews (P.Plaut, J.Hadamar) and self-reports (J.Poya, A.Puankare, G.Kowell).
Within the framework of the laboratory-experimental (psychometric) direction, the problems of creativity are explored from an analysis of the results of the performance of test assignments. That makes it possible to assess the degree of expression in the tested qualities, which, in the opinion of the researcher, are characteristic of creative ability in general. This can be a single quality, for example, originality, fluency of thinking, sensitivity to inconsistent or incomplete information. A tendency to reject stereotypical solutions (I.Torrens, J.Gilford), and some of their totality – “three-circle” (J. Renzulli) and the “Pentagonal” (R. Sternberg) model. However, the high indicators demonstrated to the subjects during the performance of the tests do not always indicate his creativity. Non-standard responses can also be a consequence of originality or autism.
Eliminate such a discrepancy allows changing the logic of the analysis of the problem: not from the pre-identified quality – to its measurement – and to the conclusion about the creativity of the individual. But from the group of creative personalities initially identified by a certain criterion, for example recognized as such by peer experts or having a level of general intellectuality, more than 140 units, or the most advanced in terms of academic success (P. Sears, G. Tsukerman) – to the experimental study and evaluation of the essential features of their perception and thinking.
The logical and methodological direction unites the works, which, although they belong to different disciplines (psychology, art history, evolutionary epistemology, philosophy), have many standard features:
- the proposed models allow us to analyze the entire range of issues related to the problems of creativity;
- the analysis is characterized by a high degree of generality;
- the empirical material is used not so much as an explanatory, illustrating the position of the author, how much as it determines;
- the theoretical reconstruction of the creative process is aimed at revealing the immanent logic.
Prospective directions of the research are aimed at moving beyond the limits of individual theories and the competition of ontological and epistemological, naturalistic and sociocultural, rationalistic and irrationalistic, special and philosophical interpretations of creativity. They are distinguished by an interdisciplinary approach based on the results of experimental, cognitive psychology, psychophysiology, neurophysiology, sociobiology, cultural anthropology, linguistics, history, and philosophy of science, art history, and cultural theory.
Representatives of the evolutionary-epistemological approach make attempts to understand the nature of high-level cognitive abilities (including creative ones) by reconstructing the formation and evolution of perception and thinking in phylogeny. The database of research is the Darwinian paradigm, according to which the emergence of an adaptively valuable attribute is due to an accidental mutation, and its gradual spread in the community – by the action of natural selection. Since, as it is established, genes determine the functioning of the nervous, hormonal system of man, the work of his sense organs, they influence the learning processes and the character of those cognitive abilities that are formed in this individual. However, difficulties arise precisely in the analysis of the nature of complex high-level forms of behavior and thinking that do not have an obvious genetic origin. To overcome the problem, various model constructs are used that make the chain of mediations less rigid (cultigens, genetic-cultural co-evolution, mental epigenesis). As a result, proponents of the evolutionary-epistemological approach prefer to talk about the genetic conditioning, even if not of the qualities themselves, but at least preferences, within the framework of whose development complex high-level abilities might arise.
Representatives of the cultural and historical approach focus on the interaction between the creative person and her environment, which leads to an idea of the sources of creativity and the nature of the socialization of its results. The structure of creativity is the invention of a cultural object and recognition of its creative result, which is expressed concerning the “creative project” and “intellectual field” (P. Bourdieu). The concept of “secondary” and “primary” text, interpretation and symbol, compendium and primary source, socialized result and unspeakable word, “library” and “desk”, historical tradition and marginal author play an important role. Tradition is not an authentic embodiment of the creative result, but only the context of the action of the creative individual. The legalization of the creative product involves the loss of identity – “the birth of the reader means the death of the author” (H. Borges). The mechanism of the creative act consists in the transition from the old to the new and this sense is the movement from being to non-being. This transition is a volitional act; if the intellect has its object that is (being), and represents its ideal reproduction, then the will is directed at what is not (nonexistence) and that for the first time is brought about by a willful act. That is the overcoming of cultural isolation, access to other spaces and times of culture. The meaning and purpose of creativity is an increase in the objective sphere of diversity and the subjective field of misunderstanding. This approach seeks to synthesize several ideas about the creative process and the creative personality:
- creativity as the dispositional property of a person, a prerequisite for the development of knowledge and spiritual growth;
- creativity as a unique property of the creative subject;
- creativity as a solution to situational problems (a talented invention);
- creativity as the creation of unique cultural objects (brilliant insight);
- creativity as contemplation of eternal values (wise generalization).
This is the basis for the definition of creativity as a cultural migration, as a traveling art in the world of eternal values in search of unique objects for solving situational problems. This approach emphasizes the metaphorical theory of creativity, noted earlier by J. Bruner and K. Rogers.