Discuss the meaning and aspects of creativity. Explain the Investment and Confluence theory of creativity

Discuss the meaning and aspects of creativity. Explain the Investment and Confluence theory of creativity?


Meaning and Aspects of Creativity


Creativity is a goal directed thinking which is unusual, novel and useful. Many
of such creative thinking become so important that they influence the whole
human civilisation and are called as historical creativity. The Mona Lisa, the
laws of thermodynamics, the laws of motion, the theory of relativity are some of
the ideas that were never thought before and changed the human civilisation
altogether in a great way in their respective spheres of life. Although we can
accept its existence and importance, it has been a highly difficult task for the
researchers to define creativity.
Newell, Shaw and Simon (1963) have explained the nature of creativity on the
basis of following four criteria:

a) Novelty and usefulness
b) Rejects previously accepted ideas
c) Requires intense motivation and persistence
d) Results from organising the unclear situation in a coherent, clear and new

Beghetto and Kaufman (2007) conceptualised creativity in three different ways.
They defined creativity as novel and personally meaningful interpretation of
experiences, actions, and events. However, the novelty and meaningfulness of
these interpretations need not require to be original or (even meaningful) to others.
Indeed, the judgment of novelty and meaningfulness that constitutes creativity is
an intrapersonal judgment. This intrapersonal judgment is what distinguishes
creativity from other forms of creative expressions.
There are two types of creativeity (i) little-c (or everyday) creativity and (ii) BigC (or eminent) creativity. The latter two forms of creativity rely on interpersonal
and historical judgments of novelty, appropriateness, and lasting impact.

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Investment and Confluence Theory of Creativity

Sternberg (2006) has proposed investment and confluence theory to understand
creativity. According to the investment theory, creativity requires a confluence
of six distinct but interrelated resources: intellectual abilities, knowledge, styles
of thinking, personality, motivation, and environment. Although levels of these
resources are sources of individual differences, often the decision to use a resource
is a more important source of individual differences.


Intellectual skills: Three intellectual skills are particularly important: (a) the
synthetic skill to see problems in new ways and to escape the bounds of
conventional thinking, (b) the analytic skill to recognise which of one’s ideas are
worth pursuing and which are not, and (c) the practical–contextual skill to know
how to persuade others of—to sell other people on—the value of one’s ideas.
The confluence of these three skills is also important. Analytic skills used in the
absence of the other two skills results in powerful critical, but not creative,
thinking. Synthetic skill used in the absence of the other two skills results in new
ideas that are not subjected to the scrutiny required to improve them and make
them work. Practical–contextual skill in the absence of the other two skills may
result in societal acceptance of ideas not because the ideas are good, but rather,
because the ideas have been well and powerfully presented.

Knowledge: On the one hand, one needs to know enough about a field to move
it forward. One cannot move beyond where a field is if one does not know where
it is. On the other hand, knowledge about a field can result in a closed and

entrenched perspective, resulting in a person’s not moving beyond the way in
which he or she has seen problems in the past. Knowledge thus can help, or it
can hinder creativity.

Thinking styles: Thinking styles are preferred ways of using one’s skills. In
essence, they are decisions about how to deploy the skills available to a person.
With regard to thinking styles, a legislative style is particularly important for
creativity, that is, a preference for thinking and a decision to think in new ways.
This preference needs to be distinguished from the ability to think creatively:
Someone may like to think along new lines, but not think well, or vice versa. It
also helps to become a major creative thinker, if one is able to think globally as
well as locally, distinguishing the forest from the trees and thereby recognising
which questions are important and which ones are not.

Personality: Numerous research investigations have supported the importance
of certain personality attributes for creative functioning. These attributes include,
but are not limited to, willingness to overcome obstacles, willingness to take
sensible risks, willingness to tolerate ambiguity, and self-efficacy. In particular,
buying low and selling high typically means defying the crowd, so that one has
to be willing to stand up to conventions if one wants to think and act in creative
ways. Often creative people seek opposition; that is, they decide to think in ways
that countervail how others think. Note that none of the attributes of creative
thinking is fixed. One can decide to overcome obstacles, take sensible risks, and
so forth.

Motivation: Intrinsic, task-focused motivation is also essential to creativity. The
research of Amabile (1983) and others has shown the importance of such
motivation for creative work and has suggested that people rarely do truly creative
work in an area unless they really love what they are doing and focus on the
work rather than the potential rewards. Motivation is not something inherent in
a person: One decides to be motivated by one thing or another. Often, people
who need to work in a certain area that does not particularly interest them will
decide that, given the need to work in that area, they had better find a way to
make it interest them. They will then look for some angle on the work they need
to do that makes this work appeal to rather than bore them.

Environment: Finally, one needs an environment that is supportive and rewarding
of creative ideas. One could have all of the internal resources needed to think
creatively, but without some environmental support (such as a forum for proposing
those ideas), the creativity that a person has within him or her might never be

Confluence: Concerning the confluence of these six components, creativity is
hypothesized to involve more than a simple sum of a person’s level on each
component. First, there may be thresholds for some components (e.g., knowledge)
below which creativity is not possible regardless of the levels on other
components. Second, partial compensation may occur in which strength on one
component (e.g., motivation) counteracts a weakness on another component (e.g.,
environment). Third, interactions may occur between components, such as
intelligence and motivation, in which high levels on both components could
multiplicatively enhance creativity


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