An empirical investigation of creativity.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
Creativity was empirically investigated in a series of three multivariate studies. The initial study was exploratory, examining interrelationships among a range of creative person, process and product variables which have been identified in the literature. Findings indicated complex interrelationships between these variables and their influence on creative performance which varied across mode, subabilities, and testing conditions of performance tasks. A conceptual scheme for descriptive, assessment and predictive purposes was proposed, focusing on identification of necessary creative abilities, optimizing conditions for measurement and influences on utilization of abilities, the sufficient condition for creative performance. Experiment 2 examined a specific creative process, intuitive problem-solving. The effect of an incubatory period, involvement of subliminally perceived information, situation-specific expectations of self-efficacy on the nature of intuitive solutions were evaluated. Experimental results provided evidence for the phenomenon of intuition and extended commonly associated properties to include the subjective experience of effortlessness. The ability to intuit and its subjective quality were found to be influenced by personality differences and attitudinal factors. In Experiment 3, the validity and predictive utility of previously utilized creativity measures were re-examined in an independent sample for socially relevant criteria of performance. In addition, two training programs were developed and instituted, a visual imagery and a verbally presented creativity training program. These were compared for their direct and indirect effects on utilization of cognitive abilities and performance level. Training effects were found to interact with hemispheric preference as measured by conjugate lateral eye movements, suggesting that training in nonpreferred processing modes enhanced performance across a range of contexts. Personality characteristics associated with hemispheric bias validated results from Experiment 2. A bidirectional pattern in eye movements was associated with a more adaptive and well-adjusted personality style than unidirectional consistency. Based on a synthesis of the empirical findings, a three level descriptive model of creativity is proposed and theoretical implications discussed. The empirical results and model development were considered to highlight the multidimensional and interactive, dynamic nature of creativity and point to the importance of future empirical and theoretical research recognizing these issues.