Resolving the Paradox of Creativity

A phase approach is helpful in sorting out the problem of the paradoxes of creativity (see above): Creative individuals seem to combine apparently contradictory or even incompatible factors including thinking processes (e.g., divergent versus convergent thinking), personal motivation (e.g., intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation), and personal feelings (e.g., thrill of the chase versus fear of failure). Martindale described this as involving moving backwards and forwards between poles, and labeled it 'oscillation.' In cricket-playing countries, people who are good at this are described in everyday language as all-rounders,' while in baseball terms until recently they might have been known as 'switch-hitters.' A phase approach suggests that both poles of the paradoxes really are of central importance, but not simultaneously - certain properties wax and wane in importance depending on what phase of the innovation process is currently active. Particular human properties may foster production of effective novelty in one phase, but inhibit it in another. For instance, the personal trait of non-conformity or the process of unfettered thinking may together foster seeing problems in a new light and getting novel ideas about what to do about them, but inhibit painstaking verification of the ideas or effective communication of them in ways that are understandable and acceptable to others.

Figure 1 shows an expanded phase model incorporating other psychological components of creativity including feelings. In each phase (see left-hand column), core psychological processes (second column) are applied to content generated in the previous phase (third column), to produce the material for the next phase. The psychological processes are made possible or at least facilitated by factors such as positive motivation, openness for the new or willingness to take risks. The total process is accompanied in its various phases by feelings such as fascination, pride, or satisfaction.

The figure shows how apparently contradictory psychological factors are of particular importance in different phases of the process of generation of creative products. For instance, convergent thinking might dominate in the phase of Preparation, divergent thinking in that of Illumination, the personal property of modesty in the phase of Verification, self-confidence during Communication. The figure depicts a successful process of creation culminating in a socially validated product. In practice, the process can be broken off earlier, for instance when evaluation of the product to date indicates that it is a failure. The creative process can also start part way through, for instance when a person returns to an earlier novel configuration to verify it. It can also function as a kind of spiral; for example new information could make it possible to verify a novel configuration that had earlier been rejected.

Was this article helpful?

0 0
Baseball For Boys

Baseball For Boys

Since World War II, there has been a tremendous change in the makeup and direction of kid baseball, as it is called. Adults, showing an unprecedented interest in the activity, have initiated and developed programs in thousands of towns across the United States programs that providebr wholesome recreation for millions of youngsters and are often a source of pride and joy to the community in which they exist.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment