Last week I began this four part blog by summarising my first three blogs, whilst also adding in some additional content. These blogs focused upon the concepts of metacognition, rational thinking, confidence, integration and comprehension of information, critical thinking, creativity, self-regulated learning, and depth of understanding. I hope to use these basic concepts to further my talks over both this week and the next two weeks in order to create a comprehensive guide to areas of psychology that have real-world application and potential within our education system.
In this blog, I will talk about the link between creativity, its relationship with intelligence, personality types, and happiness. This post summarises important background reading for my next post, which shall be on problem solving and creative thinking, how they interact with each other and metacognition (Feldhusen, 1995 is a good place to start, although I shall be talking about that next week as well). I believe that the skills of problem solving and creative thinking will lead to cognitive flexibility, and that this will interact with metacognition overall, each skill helping train a person’s mind to become better at the other skills. I will also propose methods for teaching and increasing these skills to those in the education system as well.
We have already seen from my previous posts how important creativity is. From Torrance’s study it has become evident that creativity is at least, if not more important than intelligence in helping individuals succeed. A follow up study performed on Torrance’s original participants fifty years later shows that intelligence is still useful, yet only in areas of public achievement. Intelligence had no effect upon personal achievement however, whilst creativity did (Runco et al, 2010). This should come as no surprise to us, the correlation between IQ scores and creativity test scores is negligible (Kim, 2005), which implies that creative ideation and intelligent thought are very different ways of thinking. I will continue to talk about creativity, and how to nurture it within this study, as the topics I have talked about during this series of posts all aim to help an individual achieve personal success.
In 1999, Shapiro and Weisberg found that the personality traits of openness and flexibility (which is similar to cognitive flexibility, but not quite the same thing. Confusing, I know, but I’ll avoid shortening cognitive flexibility to just flexibility to avoid any misunderstanding) lead to creativity. In the study, this was seen more in people with hypomania without depression than those with depression, yet they also saw this effect happen within the normal population, indicating a link between happiness and creativity. The happier you are, the more creative you are it seems. Lyurbomirsky and King (2005) conducted a meta-analysis of studies that researched correlations between creativity and other concepts and found that chronically happy people are more creative than those who are not, which reinforces the findings of Shapiro and Weisberg, indicating that extended periods of happiness seem key to creative thinking.
Torrance’s study indicated that not just artistic minds are creative. Indeed, with the creative children that seem to have done so well in life, he may well have missed a specific part of their personality when testing their creativity. Feist (1998) found that both scientists and artists are considered more open on the Big Five personality questionnaire than the average person. Here’s where we can pull everything together:
Openness is correlated with happiness, (Furnham and Petrides, 2003), which as we already know is correlated with creativity. We also know that openness and flexibility lead to happiness. In terms of how a person thinks, it seems then that the creativity nurtured by this mindset appears to thrive best when one is happy. This means that people with this mindset will pursue a career or set of ideas that intrigues them, as this is what they wish to be most creative about, that which makes them happy, which goes to ex explain how children from Torrance’s study grew up to be scientists, and not just artists.
Whilst this open and flexible way of thinking can foster artistic talent (Guildford, 1957), it specifically aids one in being cognitively flexible (Spiro and Jeng, 1990; DeYoung, Peterson, and Higgins, 2005), as their creativity applies to the approaches they take to their given field. As such, an open and flexible mindset is one that we should help move people towards in our education system in order to allow them to attain their full potential.
DeYoung, C. G., Peterson, J. B., & Higgins, D. M. (2005). Sources of openness/intellect: Cognitive and neuropsychological correlates of the fifth factor of personality. Journal of personality, 73(4), 825-858.
Feist, G. J. (1998). A meta-analysis of personality in scientific and artistic creativity. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 2(4), 290-309.
Feldhusen, J. F. (1995). Creativity: A Knowledge Base, Metacognitive Skills, and Personality Factors. Journal of Creative Behavior, 29(4), 255-68.
Furnham, A., & Petrides, K. V. (2003). Trait emotional intelligence and happiness. Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal, 31(8), 815-823.
Guilford, J. P. (1957). Creative abilities in the arts. Psychological review, 64(2), 110.
Kim, K. H. (2005). Can only intelligent people be creative? A meta-analysis. Prufrock Journal, 16(2-3), 57-66.
Lyubomirsky, S., King, L., & Diener, E. (2005). The benefits of frequent positive affect: Does happiness lead to success?. Psychological bulletin, 131(6), 803.
Runco, M. A., Millar, G., Acar, S., & Cramond, B. (2010). Torrance tests of creative thinking as predictors of personal and public achievement: A fifty-year follow-up. Creativity Research Journal, 22(4), 361-368.
Shapiro, P. J., & Weisberg, R. W. (1999). Creativity and bipolar diathesis: Common behavioral and cognitive components. Cognition and Emotion, 13, 741–762.
Spiro, R. J., & Jehng, J. C. (1990). Cognitive flexibility and hypertext: Theory and technology for the nonlinear and multidimensional traversal of complex subject matter. Cognition, education, and multimedia: Exploring ideas in high technology, 205.