Adrian Furnham PhD, an organisational and applied psychologist, management expert and Professor of Psychology at University College London, posted on his blog, “A Sideways View”, about the common questions asked about creativity. He starts out his post by explaining why most scientists don’t spend their time trying to understand and answer the many questions about creativity. Within his first few paragraphs however, he asks the questions we are all thinking…
“Is creativity defined by a person, a product, a process or an environment? Can a person be creative without creating anything? If so, what are the personal characteristics of creative people? Can you have creative groups, rather than individuals, where somehow the group dynamic is the key to the creative process? Can you only really define creativity by the output of creative persons or groups? That is, creativity is best measured by tangible, agreed upon, outcomes.
Or is creativity a process? Is it the way painters sketch, writers scribble, sculptors carve, that makes them creative rather than some innate ability, drive or attitude? Or is it the environment that people or organisations engender that promotes creativity? Does one need funky murals, new age music, and a spirit of non-judgmental communication to be really creative?”
He then proceeds to ask the questions that a psychologist would ask,
A stable (personality) trait?
A (mood) state?
A thinking style?”
When I read that question, it sparked thought. Maybe we are all able, but some would rather not open up the creative side and simply follow the rules. To follow that statement, have you ever noticed while doing a project for school, the people who strictly follow the rules? It’s all black and white, they have to be told everything to do in able to feel that their project will be acceptable. Then there are the people that come up with the coolest things and you totally question how that idea came to them! Those projects are always the best and the most inspiring… at least, to me. Anyways, within his next few paragraphs he discusses the psychological questions being asked. The discussion that caught my attention the most, was his words about creativity being a “state.” He asks, “Can it be induced by music, watching a film, even detecting a powerfully evocative smell?” I really enjoyed this question, but didn’t enjoy his answer. He begins to talk about drinking and how he alters your thinking, which allows for more creative “confessions.” He never once, however, thought about the people who are creative without drugs or alcohol. The actors who can’t practice drunk, the dancers who can’t move with alcohol in their system. I guess after these statements that leads to the question of “What is considered a creative activity?” I will leave that definition up to you!
You may be asking, “Can anybody be creative without alcohol/drugs in their system?”… but I completely believe we can. I am a dancer. I don’t drink. I don’t do drugs. I don’t enjoy the idea of those things but will never stop anyone from doing it. Anyways, as a dancer I feel that creativity is constantly being brought up. We have to choreograph dances. We have to come up with new ways to train our muscles. We have to enhance our minds by finding new inspiration. We are constantly thinking of ways to change or better ourselves. With that, comes creativity. Finding new, and FUN things to do to make our lives less hellish.
Overall I enjoyed Furnham’s post. However, I wish that he would have gone into more detail within each topic. I felt while reading it that he was being vague or not answering the questions with as much mind power as he has. He does however bring very intriguing ideas and questions to the table which is what makes the post easier to get into.