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: 10.4018/978-1-60960-553-7.ch018


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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Cognitive Foundations Of Creativity2

Human creativity as a gifted ability is an intelligent driving force that brings something into existence.

Definition 1.Creativity is the intellectual ability to make creations, inventions, and discoveries that brings novel relations and entities or unexpected solutions into existence.

Definition 2. A creation is a higher cognitive process of the brain at the higher cognitive layer that discovers a new relation between objects, attributes, concepts, phenomena, and events, which is original, proven true, and useful.

Wallas identified five stages in a creative process (Wallas, 1926) as follows: (1) preparation, (2) incubation, (3) insight, (4) evaluation, and (5) elaboration. Csikszentmihalyi pointed out that creativity can best be understood as a confluence of three factors: a domain that consists of a set of rules and practices; an individual who makes a novel variation in the contents of the domain; and a field that consists of experts who act as gatekeepers to the domain, and decide which novel variation is worth adding to it (Csikszentmihalyi, 1996).

Various creativities and creation processes may be identified such as free/constrained creativity, analytic/synthetic creativity, inference-based creativity, problem-solving-based creativity, and scientific/ technological/art creativity. The entire set of creativities can be classified into three categories according to their creation spaces, approaches, and problem domains as summarized in Table 1.

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