Attitudinal Components

The individual's attitude toward creativity is very important, especially his or her creative self-efficacy. One's belief in his or her ability to create, defined broadly, forms the psychological foundation of creative achievement. Creative self-efficacy can be fostered by providing genuine praise and feedback about a person's creativity and avoiding discouraging statements (e.g., "You can't do that, you're not creative"). But some people may be challenged by competitive statements, again stressing the value of constructing enhancement efforts on a case-by-case basis.

The attitudinal enhancement of creativity may also involve modeling, which can be accomplished in a variety of ways. Individuals can be exposed to information about unambiguously creative individuals, perhaps via biographies or case studies. These can provide a glimpse into the more personal aspects of creativity and provide evidence that even eminent creators "are just human, like you and me." This kind of information can be reassuring and even inspiring, though it does not suggest specific ways to be creative. It is informational in the literal sense, providing factual rather than procedural information about creativity. In a similar vein, teachers, managers, parents, and others who are attempting to foster creative self-efficacy in others should model a can-do, enthusiastic attitude when confronted with problems and tasks that require creative solutions. By explaining their thought process as they tackle the problem, the creative process may be further demystified and made more accessible to the observer.

In order to change perceptions, recently six myths of creativity have been identified. They are as follows:

• Myth 1: People Are Born Either Creative or Not Creative.

As previously discussed, research suggests that individuals may enhance their own creativity, but this often times is not believed by the individual.

• Myth 2: There Is Limited Time to Be Creative. (Aging diminishes creativity.) An oft held conception of creativity is that it is an ability that most children tend to possess. Much research suggests that older adults actually demonstrate the ability to be creative.

• Myth 3: General Creativity Does Not Exist. While there are data suggesting creativity is specific to an area, recent theory and supporting data suggest that some types of creative methods move across domains while others may be more limited within domains.

• Myth 4: Creativity Is a Touchy-Feely Phenomenon. Many seem to believe that creativity is this magical and mystical ability; only attained when one is not really trying to find it. Creativity can and has been studied using rigorous methods with well-conceptualized operational definitions.

• Myth 5: Group Creativity Works Best. Both group and individual creative strategies have advantages and disadvantages. These differing values are described in the next section of the article.

• Myth 6: Constraints Hinder Creativity. Although constraints may sometimes hinder creativity they may also help provide positive guidelines that promote creativity.

These myths also represent a critical part of the framework for creativity enhancement programming via attitudinal change to be discussed later in the article.

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