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Creativity learned or natural (born-with)

  1. Feb 28, 2007 #1


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    Creativity......learned or natural (born-with)

    I had this conversation with some friends / coworkers today at lunch and both sides made good points. I'd like to get a view from everyone on these forums on the subject. I guess it all comes back to the big question you hear throughout management, business, and sociology classes throughout college: Are leaders born and created?

    When I look around at different people I work with and have contact with everyday, I notice some are more creative than others. And I'm sure this is something that everyone has seen, but never thought about it much.

    So what are y'alls views on the topic. Are people born with a level of creativity or is it completely learned over time?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 28, 2007 #2


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    Creativity is a product of environment.

    Creativity is a product of the environment that an organism has been raised in and it is a product of the internal environment of that organism's genetic make up, combined.
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2007
  4. Feb 28, 2007 #3
    I've heard that creativity doesn't increase much above a certain IQ I think it's 150, so I guess it's related to intelligence, but not something that is necessarily learned? Certain conditions can make you more creative, such as Bi-polar and Schizophrenia? Although I think I'd rather be uncreative than have either :smile:

    I'd say that it's a mix of learned and inherited traits. Although which one I'd favour and to what extent is highly debatable.
  5. Feb 28, 2007 #4


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    Is there a standard creativity quotient test?
  6. Feb 28, 2007 #5


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    I'd say creativity is something you are born with. I have two daughters, one was born creative, one was not.
  7. Mar 1, 2007 #6


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    There's the answer to my question.

    My opinion is that there is a large degree of genetic determinism when it comes to creativity. How a person's brain activity is patterned (or not patterned as the case may be) plays a large role in creativity.

    Free associative neuronal firing (which is expressed as "creativity") is determined by things like the thickness of the myelination of the axon of each nerve and the amounts of neurotransmitters produced at neuronal synapses (among many other features). These factors are somewhat determined by genetic makeup. The extent of the determination would be shown in exhaustive behavioral studies having to do with creativity and these studies have not been attempted, as far as I know.
  8. Mar 1, 2007 #7
    If you can't get a standard measure that is reliable then you can't do experiments anyway, if it's a matter of just the experimenters opinion then it's not science. To be honest how do you test something as nebulous as creativity anyway?
  9. Mar 1, 2007 #8


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    It would involve matching physiology with behavior. If there was a high correlation between the specific physiological features of individual brains and of specifically identified and standardized "creative" behaviors then,from these models, one could develop standardized criteria for identifying and perhaps predicting creativity. It would take a large study with many subjects being screened. It might also involve autopsies and historic review.

    But, all of this would probably take the creativity out of creativity.:uhh:
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2007
  10. Mar 1, 2007 #9
    With current technology I'd say what you surmise is impossible, perhaps when we advance the world of neurophysiology and psychology sufficiently to make statistical analysis possible, but not currently.
  11. Mar 1, 2007 #10


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    Tell that to a neurophysiologist, neuropsychologist, neuroscientist or a neurophysicist. Personally, I don't know how advanced they think they are on that front.
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2007
  12. Mar 1, 2007 #11
    I live with a guy who has a PhD in neuropharmacology, judging by his assertions, the whole brain thing is still much of a mystery, particularly exact theories of physiology and chemical functions, certain areas of the brain have been attributed to certain broad functions, but as to what denotes creative thought in an MRI scanner, God knows, no one even knows how anti depressants work exactly or why they take 3-5 weeks to have any effect according to him, we're pretty clueless on the brain atm. As for psychology? Well that' still an art not a science.
  13. Mar 1, 2007 #12


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    So you have to be creative to be a psychologist. :rolleyes:
  14. Mar 1, 2007 #13
    Not exactly what I mean is there's no tried and tested mathematical formula, I don't mean art as in painting and sculpture more it's more about intuition experience and feeling your way inside some ones mind at least as a shrink. As a psychological scientist behaviour is not predictable, it is not even statistical. I think maybe art is the wrong word, but it's more of a skill if you see what I mean.
  15. Mar 1, 2007 #14
    Well, it seems as though the society judges what is creative and what is "not" so I think it's a really bad standard to try to measure seeing as just about all thought I would consider creative.
  16. Mar 1, 2007 #15
    90% genetic..

    sorry gang you either have it or you dont. If it were learned.. there'd be a lot more Van Goghs around.

    Im actually quite shocked ANY of you have to be told this.
  17. Mar 1, 2007 #16


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    For a practice that is not tried and tested and is only considered an art it certainly has a broad licence to treat disease as though it knows what its doing. Is that legal?
  18. Mar 1, 2007 #17
    In order to understand your view point I must ask you a few questions.

    How do you differentiate the amount that Van Gogh was creative with respect to any other randomly chosen artist/person?

    Do you measure their relative creativity through how much success they gained?

    How do you think success is gained through art/creative-means in a particular society?

    And hence, how would you emperically measure creativity to suggest that creativity is genetic or in-born talent, rather then taught or bestowed?

    My answers to these questions bring me back to my first post, saying that creativity is an ambiguous status bestowed by society and general opinion and in that case is worthless as a means of analysis.
  19. Mar 2, 2007 #18

    Beautiful art.. whether it be a painting, building, poem or song is timeless.

    Our culture is certainly quite a bit different than that of Beethoven or Van Gogh.. certainly different from Emerson.. or many of the other great artists/creators of the ages.

    Yet their products.. their masterpeices are inherently beautiful, in spite of representing ideals that no longer exist or are no longer common.

    Mona Lisa wouldnt get a second glance today walking downt the street.. yet its still enjoyed.. even by a non art lover, it isnt so much about HER beauty as it is the paintings beauty, Beethovens 5th... even one who doesnt appreciate classical still hears the rythms and can appreciate the music. It sings to more than just your ears.

    Creativity is the ability to reach into anothers soul through an external means .. to bring out emotions, to create that which inspires others. A bulding which creates pure AWE through form and/or function.. a mechanical masterpeice not only beutiful in its elegance but efficient in its automation..

    If you cant see that creativity is inherent.. you fail to understand creativity. Im quite surprised that anyone.. thinks that these abilities can be "taught".
  20. Mar 2, 2007 #19
    I don't think it can be taught, or that it inherent. My gripe is with the ability to measure 'Creativity' in a meaningful way in order to determine Inherent/Taught.

    A lot of famous artist's art were not appreciated until after their death. Does that mean during their life they were not 'creative' but after they were? Because that is when they "reach(ed) into anothers soul"?

    If I think of something original, but have absolutely no skill in how to use a brush, and I don't have a good canvas, or good paints, but I still extrapolate my original thoughts onto the canvas and produce an art that represents it is that creative? Will people necessarily like it?

    How creative you are has nothing to do with how well you can mix paints and put them down, or how good you are and sculpting the curves so it looks realistic. The main part of being creative is the thinking, and unfortunately you cannot "measure" creative-ness. And just about all thought is creative.

    The creativity you're talking about is measured by social opinion, whether X painting/sculper/theory etc. is good and creative enough to achieve immortality in memory, this is also unmeasurable as the social trends change. Pop art and other more modern styles of art would hardly be appreciated during the Renaissance. And the reason Renaissance paintings are appreciated today are due to how famous they are, and their still high standing in today's art society.

    Art is one of many spawns of creativity, creativity cannot be measured by the success gained through art, creativity does not "reach people's souls" it's the subject matter of the art which also may or may not be a spawn on creativity. When you consider the millions of other actions, and art, that go unnoticed that creativity contributes too you cannot keep talking about creativity like that.

    Another example is that Japanese paintings are beautiful and refined yet not many western people would know a single thing about Japanese paintings. It's not because they weren't creative, because their subject matter never pertained to our present society or our past one.

    Creativity is ambiguous and unmeasurable. And your "Creativity" doesn't exist.

    Imho, everyone is creative and all thought is the act of creation and as such everyone has the same amount of creativity as anyone else. The only difference is with some people their art/music is more appreciated in the culture of the particular society then another.
  21. Mar 3, 2007 #20
    Everyone is not alike. Some people are more creative than others. It doesn't matter whether anyone appreciated Van Gogh or not in his life or after, he was creative period. There are a lot of creative people who are not appreciated but that don’t make them less creative. It is something that is hard (impossible?) to measure.
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