Wednesday 14 January 2015

Creativity: novelty, appropriateness, impact


Can creativity researchers be creative about how creativity should be measured?Davide Piffer suggests that three factors need to be understood and measured separately.

Can creativity be measured? An attempt to clarify the notion of creativity and general directions for future research

He says: The goal of this investigation is to demonstrate that much of the confusion regarding the measurement of creativity is caused by the insufficient clarity of its definition and to provide suggestions for an improved assessment and new possible tools of investigation (e.g. interviews).
It is shown that three dimensions of creativity (novelty, appropriateness and impact)
constitute a framework within which creativity can be defined and measured.
Further clarity to the definition of creativity is added by distinguishing between person’s and product’s creativity and providing definitions for each.
Based on this new definition, it is argued that Divergent Thinking, Remote Associates or some personality scales can be considered neither the only components of the creative process/cognition/potential nor “creativity tests”. The use of the terms “creativity test” and “measure of creative process” in the literature are criticized and it is indicated when they should be used.
It is also shown that claims to have found a general factor of creativity are based on methodological and conceptual errors.
Finally it is concluded that a person’s creativity can only be assessed indirectly (for example with self report questionnaires or official external recognition) but it cannot be measured directly.


  1. Psychology is not a exact science. The problems about self report questionnaire and self recognition is that meritocracy never was perfect. Some and very few people are creative genius and have LUCK in life. Most of creative people, genius or not, no have luck or not have motivation enough to fight by personal fame. In other words, in a perfect world, geniuses ocuppy all quotas of very highly talent niches. In a Real world, few geniuses are succesfull. Most of quotas in highly cognitive eminence jobs are occupied by "men of talent", high functioning bureacrats and by charlatans.


  2. Creative people (in the vulgar use of the word) love to talk about the creative process. I think they're more precise about it than creativity researchers. They also seem to be more generous in acknowledging creativity in people who haven't reached the approved IQ scores.

    First, is achieving tenure or publishing a research paper really proof of creativity? Or diligence, interpersonal skill, a knack for spotting trends, and the inherited wealth which makes an academic career conceivable? Are all published novels creative? I must be reading the wrong stuff, then, because most novels seem to be very derivative.

    Can these tests of creativity be reproduced by different researchers? Even with the same subjects, I think the results will vary depending on the day. Sing, o muse... Creative types have long acknowledged the variable nature of inspiration. Perhaps there are at least nine different types of creativity, and trying to discern one underlying trait is a mistaken approach.

    Creativity as the sum of one's creative acts is a very non-judgemental way of approaching it. I suppose that means John Keats wouldn't post a good score?

  3. Creativity: novelty, appropriateness, impact

    not a single article by any psychologist can be so described.

    psychologists have low IQs. only Schoenemann and Kamin are exceptions.

  4. Dr. James Thomspon,

    Totally random question: Let's say hypothetically someone wanted to give a friend (an adult) a quick, dirty, simple IQ test that would only take 10, let's say 5 minutes, and the test can only require a little bit of equipment and at most 20 questions/trials (they're at the corner waiting for the bus and they're parting ways soon). Let's say that these individuals could magically produce the materials needed for the IQ test before the bus pulls up (okay, now this example is starting not to make sense...). What would be the best test to use?

    a. Vocab test (like wordsum)
    b. Vocab test where person has to list as many words as possible in a certain category or starting with a certain letter
    c. Reaction time test (choice or simple)
    d. Short-term memory test (memory of letters, numbers, or shapes, forward or reverse)
    e. Jeopardy trivia questions
    f. Number sequence test
    g. Head circumference measurements
    h. Some other test (can't ask SAT score, income, health, cultural preferences or anything personal)

    Which test would be the quickest and the most accurate?

    Thank you for your repsonse!

    1. Hernández-Orallo and Dowe (2010) Artificial Intelligence 174 1508–1539 Measuring universal intelligence: Towards an anytime intelligence test.
      Interesting and helpful way of understanding the challenges we face in testing intelligence.

  5. very good question. a, d and possibly f

    1. Why not ask him his parents' IQs? Or his siblings?

    2. Less accurate than a vocabulary test

    3. I was only being creative.

    4. Quickest and most accurate: that was the question. As to being creative: any more of that and I will put the Wee Free onto your case.

  6. Number of bloogers per free country can be a proxy to creativity or at least to two important non-pure-cognitive components of creativity : self expression and intrinsical motivation. Believe that where there this traits will be potential to have pure cognitive traits of creativity. I think in South korea and Japan will be less bloggers than in most of western countries.