Through reading many studies I have come to see that there are many perspectives on this topic. From philosophers to biologist, however with that I’ve noticed that no matter ones field of argument the underlying fuel for this debate is the old time classic of Nature vs. Nurture. The articles I used for this paper look at a wide range of what might contribute to an individual’s creativity from mental illness to dedication of a particular craft. I will also be looking at the higher potential creative people have in displaying deviant behavior, and how this can aid or destroy ones success.
The first paper I am introducing is “Why the Left-Brain Right-Brain Myth Will Probably Never Die” (Jarrette, 2012). This paper greatly outlines the myth of the right side of the brain and the left and the ideas of what each side is responsible for; while there is some truth to it, it’s far less black and white then ‘one side does this the other that’. “The left-brain right-brain myth will probably never die because it has become a powerful metaphor for different ways of thinking – logical, focused and analytic versus broad-minded and creative.” (Jarrette, 2012, p. 1). This quote shows a simple understanding of the human something that people enjoy as it is more appealing to think that only people who are creative have successfully tapped into this unique side of the human brain. This is not so the sides of the human brain are connected by a thick fibrous tissue that allows each side of the brain to communicate with each other. This was remarkably found in the 60’s during a split-brain study when they treated patience with epilepsy by cutting the fibers that connected each side; after doing this they realized that the brain acted separately. Among many other studies when one side of the brain is targeted the other hemisphere does not respond in the same way, sometimes even storytelling to make up for the lack of understanding. (Jarrette, 2012) The human brain is more complex than the ever so appealing left side right side metaphor we know so well.
Now that we have an understanding of each hemisphere in the human brain I want to talk about the personalities creative tend to possess. Using “Characteristics of Highly Creative People” (Baumgartner, 2012). This paper was very helpful in understanding the creative mind and how and why it works in the manor it does. It is common belief that creative people tend to be a bit more rebellious, and in some ways this is true however most averagely creative people will comply with society’s norms it is normally only the highly creative people who think outside of the box and succeed in their chosen craft. (Baumgartner, 2012) It was also noteworthy that while most people think that creative people are driven by emotion and instinct; this is actually really untrue as creative people are more logical than anything else. This allows them to see things in a different more clear way; it also makes it easier for them to materialize their ideas. Another astonishing behavioral trait of creative people tends to be their ability to be less honest. “The reason for this seems to be that creative people can use their creativity to justify their actions in ways that less creative people cannot do.” (Baumgartner, 2012, p. 3). Creative people feel that they do not need to fit into society’s demands, and this works for the creative well; as it allows them to do as they wish with little guilt allowing their work to be displayed to the masses. (Baumgartner, 2012)
Leading into the much darker side of creativity I’ll be referring to “ (Francesca Gino, 2011) the ability to be creative has always been highly sought after for employers as well as create jobs for others. Being creative and innovative is a great asset to possess as it can provide much opportunity to the individual with the craft. One can be creative in many fields not just the arts; creative people can hold careers in the sciences, and technologies as well! This said being creative has some downfalls such as a pre-disposition to dishonesty, risky behavior, and immoral actions. While society demes these characteristics detrimental they allow the individual to work successfully towards their goal with little to no guilt. Because of this advantage people who are creative tend to be more successful in life goals and achievements, unlike the uncreative mind. (Francesca Gino, 2011) “We propose that high levels of divergent thinking and cognitive flexibility are likely to be associated with dishonest behavior when individuals are motivated to think creatively, either because of their own personalities or because of cues in the surrounding environment.” (Francesca Gino, 2011, p. 4) . This allows them to bypass any moral values they may poses.
“People with ADHD characteristics are more likely to reach higher levels of creative thought and achievement than people without these characteristic” (Kaufman, 2014) .This article I will be using looks at the remarkable similarities that people with ADHD have with creative people. Both have “leaky” thoughts; the inability to suppress thoughts and organize them in a productive way. They are often hyper, energetic and freethinking people. Through studies dating back to the early 60’s the author explains how they may be one in the same, and that ADHD may just be a result of a highly creative person and not a mental disability. The brain activity in a person with ADHD is the same as a person who is creative; oddly people with ADHD tend to have more activity in these sectors of the brain, suggesting the former may have marret. (Kaufman, 2014)
The following book I have referred to looks at how the creative trait could be traced through evolution and how even today these traits hold strong. The book looks at the distinction between the hereditability of deviation and character. (Henri Bergson Translation by Arthur Mitchell, 1960) The book Talks about the genetic make up of a Deviate trait, as well as how through evolution it has become more prevalent in each generation. While both hold the potential to be creative it is normally only those who have the deviate trait that succeeds. The characteristic traits have a creative aspect to them as well but don’t have the drive the deviate traits do to succeed. The book also explained that while there can be other traits that contribute to one’s creativity these two traits are the base of all creativity. People who have a more character driven base for their creativity tend to be safer often expressing a crafty, more savvy release to their creative outlet. These people often have a solid career that they don’t venture from and do there form art on the side more like a hobby. While on the other hand people who have the deviant aspect to their creativity, tend to be more risky in the chosen art form often making it a career or lifestyle for them. (Henri Bergson Translation by Arthur Mitchell, 1960)
This book is a philosophical take on the creative mind. It talks about how everyone has the ability to be creative but not everyone can break into it and harness its muse! “Of the cocoon from which the butterfly is to emerge, and cling that the fluttering, changing, living butterfly finds its rasison d’etre and fulfillment”. (Andison, 1971) This quote the author used to describe how like a butterfly creative people emerge from the confinements of the human brain. Bergson then goes on to explain why and how these people are able explore their inner mind. Accordingly it often is because of an early on encounter in which an event exposed something well beyond ones years which triggers the innate nature of curiosity, eventually leading them down the path of creativity. Many things can decide on which form of the arts one will go down, such as environment, support systems, and one’s personal surroundings ( ie… music rich culture) .
Finally I come to the last article “The Science of Creativity” (American Psychology Association, 2009). This article I found particularly interesting as it took a different view of how one can be creative. The article also explains how school ruins one’s ability to be creative; with all the rules and regulations to follow there is not much room for creativity, yet at the same time they ask that you show creativity as it is an asset. The article outlines how one can exercise ones potential to become creative. In steps it scientifically explains why the technique works and what possible tools can be used to aid in this journey to creativity. “Capture your new ideas. Keep an idea notebook or voice recorder with you, type in new thoughts on your laptop or write ideas down on a napkin.” (American Psychology Association, 2009, p. 1). These pointers on how to ignite ones creativity seem simple enough yet effective at the same time. The idea that one can learn to be creative is interesting, but after doing much research on this topic the biological theory of creative people seems to the stronger argument of ‘what makes a creative person’ and so with my own satisfaction I rest my case!
American Psychology Association. (2009, January ). Retrieved March 6, 2015, from The Science of Creativity: http://www.apa.org/gradpsych/2009/01/creativity.aspx
Andison, H. B. (1971). The Creative Mind . New York : Greenwood Press, Publishers.
Baumgartner, J. (2012). Characteristics of Highly Creative People. Retrieved March 4th , 2015, from http://www.jpb.com/creative/creative_people.php
Francesca Gino, D. A. (2011). The Dark Side of Creativity: Original Thinkers Can be more Dishonest. Retrieved March 4, 2015, from Harvard Business School: http://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Publication%20Files/11-064.pdf
Henri Bergson Translation by Arthur Mitchell, P. (1960). Creative Evolution . London: MaCmillan &CO LTD .
Jarrette, C. (2012, June 27). Why the Left-Brain Right-Brain Myth Will Probably Never Die. Retrieved March 06, 2015, from Psychology Today: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/brain-myths/201206/why-the-left-brain-right-brain-myth-will-probably-never-die
Kaufman, S. B. ( 2014, October 21). Scientific American . Retrieved March 04, 2015, from Beautiful Minds: The creative gifts of ADHD: http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/beautiful-minds/2014/10/21/the-creative-gifts-of-adhd/