Creativity and the Arts

Creativity and the Arts

Richard L. Tietze (Marymount Manhattan College, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5478-3.ch001
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The chapter explores creativity from a psychological viewpoint, as spontaneous and reflective activities in several self-defining human efforts, such as telling stories and forming an identity. New discoveries from neuroscience and creative arts therapies combine to understand creativity as a range of normative human functioning, which blends with professional creative discovery in the arts at the higher extremes of this range. The chapter focuses on visual art and music, followed by a normative application of creativity as utilized in creative arts therapies. Finally, the chapter concludes by introducing normative creative tools to incorporate into everyday life.
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History Of Creativity Study

Early 20th century studies attempted to study creativity using creative products (i.e.; acknowledged works of art) and later attempted to explore the creative process by asking artists to introspect and describe their thoughts as they were creating. This was a typical strategy of that era, but, unfortunately, individual descriptions varied so much that the research produced unreliable and non-comparable descriptions of the thought process. This ultimately led to a dead end for half a century until modern neuroscience opened new ways to conceptualize how brain and mind connected human cognitive processes (McAdams, 2001; Myers & deWall, 2015). Cognitive neuroscience established a dimension of observation and data from about 1985, with neuroimaging of normal functioning human brains bringing the biological perspective strongly into the field (Gazzaniga, et al., 2014; Levitin, 2006).

Guilford (1950) and Bruner (1986) sought a modern approach to empirical/conceptual study, demonstrating the many ways to understand and express creativity. Bruner also distinguished narrative thinking, which was later realized to be a foundation of human literature as stories, and a way to explain our understanding of how life experience is recorded in the brain, basically by linking external events in sequence with emotional responses to these events. His work also encouraged the paradigm now known as Life-Span Development. (Bruner, 1986; McAdams, 2001). The field of Narrative Psychology was explored in relation to personality by McAdams (2001), and also applied to counseling processes (Nystul, 2011). The storytelling model has become a tool for identity development and/or correcting dysfunction, using the client’s own language and experiences to describe meaning, whether for an individual, a couple or a family (Nystul, 2011).


Scientific Study Of Creativity

Since the mid- 20th century, the scientific study of creativity has been organized historically into “three waves” (Sawyer, 2012, in Beghetto & Breslow, p.417):

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