Enhance Creativity in Australia

Posts Tagged ‘insight

There is little evidence about left brain vs right brain and creativity. Theories of  left-brain/right brain learning theories are not based on credible science and most certainly unhelpful in understanding creativity when used to categorise individuals. But have you ever heard of convergent thinking and divergent thinking?

Psychologist J.P. Guilford first invented the terms convergent thinking and divergent thinking‘ back in 1967.

Convergent thinking is the ability to the ability to apply rules to arrive at a single ‘correct’ solution to a problem such as the answer to an IQ test problem. This process is systematic and linear.

Divergent thinking (or sometimes ‘lateral thinking’) is the process of generating multiple related ideas for a given topic or solutions to a problem. Divergent thinking occurs in a spontaneous, free-flowing, ‘non-linear’ manner.

There is good evidence that divergent thinking is what creative problem solving depends on!

Traditionally creativity has been understood in terms of the accessibility of concepts in our long term memory systems so divergent thinking tasks have been widely used. Concepts are connected in our brains in ‘semantic networks’.

Here is an example of a semantic network, with each concept ‘node’ of the network accessible from the concept ‘street’ via other node:

Individual differences in creativity are due to differences in whether these kinds of associative networks were ‘steep’ or ‘flat’, psychologists have proposed.

Those with ‘flat’ networks have numerous and loose conceptual connections, enabling them to be more creative.

Those with ‘steep’ networks tend to have more logical, linear associations between nodes.

Below is an image of someone with a flat network which quickly and creatively hops – node to node – from peacock to Rolls Royce. Something someone ‘linear’ in their thinking would struggle with.


Mark A. Smith Ph.D, Creativity and IQ

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