"Creativity is intelligence having fun." – Albert Einstein
What traits do creative people share? Dean Keith Simonton discusses the science behind creative accomplishment in the Winter 2014 issue of Scientific American Mind magazine.
|Julie Playing the Violin by Berthe Morisot, 1893, oil painting.|
Although we may never be certain how large a role nature may play in a person's tendency to be creative or how much hard work and tenacity may expand a person's abilities, there are some key tendencies that are commonly found in highly creativity individuals.
One of these is cognitive disinhibition. Because humans are inundated with data, we have developed mental filters that allow us to process out that data which is irrelevant or not necessary to us at the time. Cognitive disinhibition is a failure to keep those irrelevant ideas out of our conscious awareness. A positive side to this is that In creative individuals it may allow a wider range of ideas to be considered when pursuing solutions to problems.
All this may go hand-in-hand with the fact that many well-known creative geniuses had extraneous hobbies that seemingly were unrelated to their areas of focus. Einstein took the time to practice the classics on the violin. Galileo studied the visual arts. Perhaps these distractions allowed their brains time to relax and digest information from their primary endeavors. It is also likely that ideas sparked from these disparate hobbies may have provided creative insights into the areas of their primary focus. Amassing knowledge across domains may be one of the most important traits of the creative genius.
Creative people tend to be able to generate a great variety of ideas, but, generating a large volume of ideas is useless unless one is willing to explore the most interesting ones as far as they will lead. The crucial mental trait in all this seems to be the creative person's willingness to fail, and then back up to a previous idea or stage and try that avenue. Repeatedly.
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–John and Ann