We all approach creativity in different ways. Discover which
types of creativity are compatible with your personality and how you can foster
and inspire it.
What is Creativity?
Creativity is the process of developing and executing
something useful or original. Though many factors influence creativity, such as
knowledge and experience, cognitive neuroscienceâ€”the decision-making and
problem-solving performed by the human brain during the creative processâ€”also
plays a role.
Divergent thinking is a type of creative thinking, according
to psychologist J.P. Guilford coined the term in the 1950s. Guilford classified
thinking into two types: convergent thinking, which involves gathering facts to
arrive at a single answer, and divergent thinking, also known as lateral
thinking, which involves formulating multiple ideas from various sources.
Brainstorming is a type of divergent thinking that involves gathering as many
ideas and approaches to a creative problem as possible.
Arne Dietrich, a neuroscience professor, classified
creativity further based on brain activities. His research introduced a
creative quadrant based on how the conscious brain generates creative ideas.
Creativity Comes in Four Forms
Arne Dietrich defines four types of creativity as follows:
1. Intentional and cognitive creativity. Deliberate and
cognitive creative people are research-oriented and prefer repeated experiments
and investigations to achieve their creative goals. The prefrontal cortex (PFC)
of the brain allows for extended periods of focus and information gathering,
which is characteristic of this type of creativity. Thomas Edison's work on the
light bulb, which took many trials, is an excellent example of deliberate and
2. Deliberate and emotional creativity. The amygdala and
cingulate cortex regulate intentional and emotional creativity, which combines
logic and facts with emotional sensitivity. Individuals in this category prefer
quiet time, which aids in the generation of random "a-ha" moments of
clarity and creative inspiration.
3. Spontaneous and cognitive creativity. A
"eureka" moment, such as the one that allegedly inspired Isaac
Newton's gravity theories, defines both spontaneous and cognitive creativity.
Creative people in this category frequently need to shift their focus away from
the problem at hand and toward other activities. The basal ganglia of the brain
activate unconscious awareness at these times, allowing the PFC to draw on
their body of knowledge and connect information. When an idea or external
inspiration triggers the brain, solutions emerge.
4. Spontaneous and emotional creativity. Great artists,
such as painters, authors, and musicians, frequently meet the requirements for
spontaneous and emotional creativity. The amygdala, which regulates emotional
thinking, produces epiphanies, or sudden bursts of inspiration that allow
people to see a situation in a completely new light. Epiphanies do not have to
be forced or manufactured; they simply require patience.
How to Foster Creativity
There are numerous ways for all creative types to ignite
their creativity. They are as follows:
Collaboration. Working on a project with others may benefit
people who identify as deliberately and cognitively creative. Collaboration
introduces numerous ideas, many of which require repeated testing to determine
their effectiveness. This gathering of information and emphasis on
investigation speaks directly to this type of creativity.
Setting boundaries. Imposing rules or requirements on a
creative project diverts attention away from the problem at hand. To meet the
new limits, the creative type must shift focusâ€”a critical component in both
spontaneous and cognitive creativity.
Walking. Exercise and relaxation help to reduce anxiety and
stress, both of which impair creativity. Getting outside also allows the basal
ganglia to take over and allow the PFC to form new connections; walking opens
the door to inspiration for both spontaneous and cognitive types, as well as
spontaneous and emotional types.