Creativity and Development

Creativity and Development

Creativity and Development

Creativity and Development


What is creativity, and where does it come from? Creativity and Development explores the fascinating connections and tensions between creativity research and developmental psychology, two fields that have largely progressed independently of each other until now. In this book, scholars influential in both fields explore the emergence of new ideas, and the development of the people and situations that bring them to fruition. The uniquely collaborative nature of Oxford's Counterpoints series allows them to engage in a dialogue, addressing the key issues and potential benefits of exploring the connections between creativity and development. Creativity and Development is based on the observation that both creativity and development are processes that occur in complex systems, in which later stages or changes emerge from the prior state of the system. In the 1970s and 1980s, creativity researchers shifted their focus from personality traits to cognitive and social processes, and the co-authors of this volume are some of the most influential figures in this shift. The central focus on system processes results in three related volume themes: how the outcomes of creativity and development emerge from dynamical processes, the interrelation between individual processes and social processes, and the role of mediating artefacts and domains in developmental and creative processes. The chapters touch on a wide range of important topics, with the authors drawing on their decades of research into creativity and development. Readers will learn about the creativity of children's play, the creative aspects of children's thinking, the creative processes of scientists, the role of education and teaching in creative development, and the role of multiple intelligences in both creativity and development. The final chapter is an important dialogue between the authors, who engage in a roundtable discussion and explore key questions facing contemporary researchers, such as: Does society suppress children's creativity? Are creativity and development specific to an intelligence or a domain? What role do social and cultural contexts play in creativity and development? Creativity and Development presents a powerful argument that both creativity scholars and developmental psychologists will benefit by becoming more familiar with each other's work.


This book is an exploration of the connections between creativity and development. These connections are rarely studied, because the fields of creativity research and developmental psychology have proceeded independently—conducted by different scholars and in different paradigms. Creativity research is typically conducted on adults, often by personality or social psychologists; in the Creativity Research Journal, there is rarely anything about children or development. Developmental psychologists likewise rarely study creativity in development; for example, at the biggest recent academic conferences on child development—the 1999 and 2001 Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) meetings—there were only a handful of papers related to creativity.

Even though there has been no sustained attempt to bring theories of creativity and development together, there have nonetheless been many implicit and hidden connections between them. By identifying these connections, we intend this book to be of interest to both creativity researchers and developmental psychologists. Creativity researchers will learn that the much larger field of developmental psychology offers a body of theory and methodology that can be used in the study of creativity. At the same time, developmental researchers will be exposed to the tradition of research in creativity and will gain new perspectives on some long-standing issues in developmental psychology.

I begin this introduction by reviewing some commonly noted connections between creativity and development. I then distinguish our approach in this volume by noting that our unifying focus is process and the dynamics of the emergence of novelty over time. This focus leads to three themes; I discuss each of these and then briefly describe how each chapter speaks to those themes.

Throughout recorded history, scholars have noted similarities between artistic creativity and children. These similarities have led many scholars to suggest . . .

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