On Cognitive Foundations of Creativity and the Cognitive Process of Creation

On Cognitive Foundations of Creativity and the Cognitive Process of Creation

Yingxu Wang (University of Calgary, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/jcini.2009062301

Abstract

Creativity is a gifted ability of human beings in thinking, inference, problem solving, and product development. A creation is a new and unusual relation between two or more objects that generates a novel and meaningful concept, solution, method, explanation, or product. This article formally investigates into the cognitive process of creation and creativity as one of the most fantastic life functions. The cognitive foundations of creativity are explored in order to explain the space of creativity, the approaches to creativity, the relationship between creation and problem solving, and the common attributes of inventors. A set of mathematical models of creation and creativity is established on the basis of the tree structures and properties of human knowledge known as concept trees. The measurement of creativity is quantitatively analyzed, followed by the formal elaboration of the cognitive process of creation as a part of the Layered Reference Model of the Brain (LRMB).
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Introduction

Creativity is a gifted ability of human beings in thinking, inference, problem solving, and product development (Beveridge, 1975; Csikszentmihalyi, 1996; Holland, 1986; Matlin, 1998; Smith, 1995; Sternberg & Lubart, 1995; Wang et al., 2006; Wilson & Keil, 1999). Human creativity may be classified into three categories known as the abstract, concrete, and art creativities. A scientific (abstract) creation is usually characterized by a free and unlimited creative environment where the goals and paths for such a creation is totally free and unlimited; while an engineering (concrete) creation is characterized by a limited creative environment where a creative problem solving is constructed by a certain set of goals, paths, and available conditions. The third form of creation is the art (empirical) creation that generates a novel artifact that attracts human sensorial attention and perceptual satisfactory.

Creativity has been perceived diversely and controversially in psychology, intelligence science, and cognitive science (Csikszentmihalyi, 1996; Guiford, 1967; Leahey, 1997; Mednich & Mednich, 1967; Matlin, 1998; Sternberg & Lubart, 1995; Wallas, 1926; Wang et al., 2009a, 2009b). Creativity may be treated as a form of art that generates unexpected results by unexpected paths and means. It may also be modeled as a scientific phenomenon that generates unexpected results by purposeful pursuits. In 1998, Matlin perceived that creativity is a special case of problem solving (Matlin, 1998). From this perspective, he defined creativity as a process to find a solution that is both novel and useful. However, problem solving often deals with issues for a certain goal with unknown paths. Therefore, creation is much more divergent that deals with issues of both unknown goals and unknown paths for a problem under study.

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