The International Handbook of Creativity rounds off the picture presented in Sternberg's Handbook of Creativity. Where the Handbook provides an in depth picture of theories, strands, and foundation data for the study of creativity, the International Handbook completes the picture with worldwide applications of creativity.
The goal of this handbook is to present a truly international and diverse set of perspectives on the psychology of human creativity. Distinguished international scholars have contributed to this book's chapters on the history and current state of creativity research and theory in their respective parts of the world. Much of the work discussed has never before been available in English.
about the review:
The review was done as part of our work in the Current Issues in Creativity Studies course during the 2oo8 summer semester (CRS625, Summer 2008).
My initial plan for this assignment was to find the shortest, most recent book on creativity. When I saw this book in the library, I was fixed on the title and ignored the heavy weight and its 500-pages of information. Unlike my initial plan to skip through it, I went through every page. Here’s why.
While De la Torre systemized and conceptualized the issue of creativity, Marín established the set of “creative commandments” in 1989 to teach creativity.
Creativity in the Scandinavian region was also of great interest to me. Their studies took into account people’s attitude towards life, the creative climate and what kind of mood is conductive for creativity. Ekvall, Christensen, Kivimäki and Dackert studied and wrote about creative climates and teams. In essence, “environmental influences have been studied systematically in industrial and other organizational settings” (p.229).
The Soviet-Russian countries, is where I marveled the most. I discovered that the psychology of creativity in
Finally, “the African creative practices are, in part, a product of their individual and collective expressive selves resulting from the challenges of diversity, as well as from religion, modernization, language, geography, and political systems” (p.459). The concept that intrigued me the most is how they perceived the consequences of both process and outcome on each other. “The processes and outcomes of creative expression in Africans can be presumed to be mutually reinforcing. For example a possible self could be realized through adoption of a product, idea, or performance that makes it possible to achieve a newly aspired role, whereas an achieved role through self-definition could create opportunities to experience new products, ideas, and performance. The outcomes of creative expression are realized within ecocultural contexts (modern, transitional, and traditionalist), which are transformed by the outcomes, thus potentiating further replication, adaptation and innovation” (p.462). In Arab-African studies, researchers Abdel-Ghaffar and Habib noted that creative individuals showed the following personality traits: emotional sensitivity, emotional stability, self-control, and liberal attitudes. The “research on creativity in Arab Africa has largely focused on the psychology of literature and art” (p.475). Africans in general consider creativity to derive from at least 5 components: 1) thinking styles, 2) personality, 3) motivation, 4) environment, and 5) the confluence of the aforesaid attributes. “To define creativity from the perspective of citizens of African communities suggest that it serves replicative, adaptive, and innovative functions involving everyday activities” (p.483).
A final note on creativity around the world, the last chapter concluded that there are 2 types of creativity research: applied and basic.
The applied research can be either educational or industry based. The Basic research falls into 4 types of psychology: 1) cognitive (divergent thinking, intuition, imagination, logic, remote association, and other), 2) developmental (childhood and adulthood), 3) differential (differences, personalities, psychopathology), and 4) social (social context and aesthetic communication. There are 5 dimensions for the diversity of creativity research, I’ll let you read the book to find out what these dimensions are.
Of all the countries and regions, the most that caught my attention are: the Scandinavians and their work on creative climate, the Soviet and their extensive experience on using intuition and logic in their definition of creativity and finally the diverse african view, and how the process and and result of creative thinking are integrated and influenced by each other more visibly than in our north American views. Happy reading!
CRS625, summer 2008