CREATIVITY IN THE ADULT YEARS
Individuals continue to develop throughout their lives. The contributions of a Charles Darwin, a Pablo Picasso, or a Katharine Hepburn certainly deepen in the decades after adolescence. But until recently psychologists who study human development have focused almost entirely on the period of life before the age of twenty. Moreover, the measures on which they have relied in their studies have almost all been brief tasks--learning word lists, mastery of a maze--which can be surmounted in a manner of minutes (and which are even more rapidly forgotten). Even the most illustrious developmental psychologist of our time, Jean Piaget, had nothing to say about mental life in the adult years, and little to say about achievements that unfold over the course of years. Indeed, when Piaget's student Howard Gruber mentioned his wish to study creativity, Piaget responded skeptically, though not without sympathy, "It touches everything."
Now, however, inspired by Piaget's scientific example, Gruber and his students have gone on to examine major creative achievements in the adult years. Gruber, a psychologist at Rutgers University, spent a decade examining the emerging creativity of Charles Darwin and then authored the award-winning Darwin on Man. Where other psychologists concerned with creativity had devised simple paper-and-pencil tests which they administered to scores of subjects, Gruber instead