Creativity Inside Out—but Not Upside Down

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Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1994, Vol 39(1), 12–13. Reviews the book, Creative Cognition: Theory, Research, and Applications by Ronald A. Finke, Thomas B. Ward, and Steven M. Smith (1992). There is no doubt which psychology Creative Cognition represents. Its authors are clearly engaged in an experimental study of creativity from the perspective of modern cognitive science. Nevertheless, two remarkable departures appear in this work as well. The first is methodological. Regardless of what phenomenon is under view, cognitive psychologists like to use the same reduced set of dependent variables, most often error rates and reaction times. In line with this predilection, laboratory studies of creativity will gauge the proportion of subjects who solved a problem or the amount of time that was required to obtain a solution. Yet at the same time, the use of this criterion means that the phenomenon they are studying comes closer to what those of the correlational school would consider to constitute genuine creativity. In fact, one of the delights of this book is the figures, which depict the imaginative ideas that the experimenters' subjects could conjure up. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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