Creativity is a complex, multi-faceted concept encompassing a variety of related aspects, abilities, properties and behaviours. If we wish to study creativity scientifically, then a tractable and well-articulated model of creativity is required. Such a model would be of great value to researchers investigating the nature of creativity and in particular, those concerned with the evaluation of creative practice. This paper describes a unique approach to developing a suitable model of how creative behaviour emerges that is based on the words people use to describe the concept. Using techniques from the field of statistical natural language processing, we identify a collection of fourteen key components of creativity through an analysis of a corpus of academic papers on the topic. Words are identified which appear significantly often in connection with discussions of the concept. Using a measure of lexical similarity to help cluster these words, a number of distinct themes emerge, which collectively contribute to a comprehensive and multi-perspective model of creativity. The components provide an ontology of creativity: a set of building blocks which can be used to model creative practice in a variety of domains. The components have been employed in two case studies to evaluate the creativity of computational systems and have proven useful in articulating achievements of this work and directions for further research.
This paper presents a computational approach to modelling group creativity. It presents an analysis of two studies of group creativity selected from different research cultures and identifies a common theme ("idea build-up") that is then used in the formalisation of an agent-based model used to support reasoning about the complex dynamics of building on the ideas of others.
Can machines be creative? Recent successes in AI have shown that machines can now perform at human levels in many tasks that, just a few years ago, were considered to be decades away, like driving cars, understanding spoken language, and recognizing objects. But these are all tasks where we know what needs to be done, and the machine is just imitating us. What about tasks where the right answers are not known? Can machines be programmed to find solutions on their own, and perhaps even come up with creative solutions that humans would find difficult?
Despite a surge of papers in recent years, the neuroscience of creativity finds itself in a theoretical void that has perhaps no equal in psychology. A recent, comprehensive review concluded that “not a single currently circulating notion on the possible neural mechanisms underlying creative thinking survives close scrutiny”.
Challenges and problems can derail your creative process ... or they can make you more creative than ever. In the surprising story behind the best-selling solo piano album of all time, Tim Harford may just convince you of the advantages of having to work with a little mess.
The Neukom Institute for Computational Science at Dartmouth College is pleased to announce the first annual Neukom Institute Prizes in Computational Arts. These competitions aim to inspire innovations in computational methods that generate artistic products, such as literary, musical, and visual art.
Neukom Institute will run three different competitions in 2016: DigiLit for short stories, PoetiX for sonnets, and AlgoRhythms for dance music DJ sets. All entries will be in the form of computer code that generates novel works in one of these three creative modes.
Competition Deadline: March 15, 2016. Judges will be announced in September - sign up for our newsletter below to stay tuned.
The term ‘physiognomic’ was used by the psychologist Heinz Werner to describe the perceived dynamic and expressive qualities of objects, which could not be accounted for by merely attending to an object’s objective form. An exploration of these qualities and their role in psychological processes is sorely missing in contemporary psychology with its focus on the more or less accurate cognition of a world seen to be ‘out there’. In this paper, I use the notion of physiognomic to explore the phenomena of creativity, which is here understood as the making of novel linkages, combinations and syntheses across different domains of experience. It is argued that physiognomic perception creates a platform on which creativity becomes possible at both micro- and onto-genetic levels. Creative insight often occurs when we let our minds move to more ‘primitive’ levels of consciousness, such as daydreaming, the dim consciousness before sleep and pretend play, etc., where physiognomic qualities come to the fore. Through a number of illustrative examples, I demonstrate how physiognomic qualities enable us to make surprising linkages in our experience and thereby learn to see the world anew.
A number of stimulating, even provocative, books in psychology can provide insights into developing creative thinking. Here are a few examples. In her NY Times article The Power of Concentration, Maria Konnikova reports on a University of Washington s...
Many famous artists, musicians, humanitarians and scientists were exquisitely sensitive to their environments, and used their experiences as grist for the mill of their extraordinary creativity and compassion.
Invention has been commonly conceptualized as a search over a space of combinatorial possibilities. Despite the existence of a rich literature, spanning a variety of disciplines, elaborating on the recombinant nature of invention, we lack a formal and quantitative characterization of the combinatorial process underpinning inventive activity. Here, we use US patent records dating from 1790 to 2010 to formally characterize invention as a combinatorial process. To do this, we treat patented inventions as carriers of technologies and avail ourselves of the elaborate system of technology codes used by the United States Patent and Trademark Office to classify the technologies responsible for an invention's novelty. We find that the combinatorial inventive process exhibits an invariant rate of ‘exploitation’ (refinements of existing combinations of technologies) and ‘exploration’ (the development of new technological combinations). This combinatorial dynamic contrasts sharply with the creation of new technological capabilities—the building blocks to be combined—that has significantly slowed down. We also find that, notwithstanding the very reduced rate at which new technologies are introduced, the generation of novel technological combinations engenders a practically infinite space of technological configurations.
Most investigations of creativity tend to take one of two directions: everyday creativity (also called “little-c”), which can be found in nearly all people, and eminent creativity (also called “Big-C”), which is reserved for the great. In this paper, the authors propose a Four C model of creativity that expands this dichotomy. Specifically, the authors add the idea of “mini-c,” creativity inherent in the learning process, and Pro-c, the developmental and effortful progression beyond little-c that represents professional-level expertise in any creative area. The authors include different transitions and gradations of these four dimensions of creativity, and then discuss advantages and examples of the Four C Model.
Creativity has commonly been thought of either as a set of domain- general skills that can be applied broadly like a special kind of intelligence or as a general personality trait that colors a person’s approach to any kind of task or problem, but these ways of thinking about creativity are misleading. A better metaphor for creativity than either intelligence or a personality trait is expertise.
For centuries, great thinkers have instinctively stepped out the door and begun walking, or at the very least pacing, when they needed to boost creativity. Charles Dickens routinely walked for 30 miles a day, while the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche declared, “All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.” But in recent years, as lives have become increasingly sedentary, the idea has been put to the test. The precise physiology is unknown, but professors and therapists are turning what was once an unquestioned instinct into a certainty: Walking influences our thinking, and somehow improves creativity.
In my quest to understand what works and what doesn’t for my and others’ creative work flow, I’ve come up with a metaphor for the mind. And how to use these findings as a creativity and productivity superpower.
“John Cage’s first and only performance of How to Get Started on 31 Aug 1989 was conceived of almost as an afterthought–a performance substituting for another that had been previously planned. In his performance, delivered at a sound design conference in Nicasio, California, Cage talks about the difficulty of initiating the creative process, and about improvisation, a subject about which he had long been deeply ambivalent. He proposes a collaborative framework in which sound engineers capture and subsequently layer his extemporized monologue, which consisted of ten brief commentaries on topics then of interest. This amounted to an experiment having to do with thinking in public before a live audience.”
The publication also features commentaries by Laura Kuhn, Aaron Levy and Arthur J. Sabatini.
Publisher Slought Books, Philadelphia, and John Cage Trust, 2010 ISBN 0981540961, 9780981540962 19 pages
What are the links between brain function and creativity? How can this knowledge affect the way we learn, work, and thrive? More than a dozen experts, including neurologists, artists, and cognitive psychologists, consider these and other questions in a new report from the National Endowment for the Arts titled How Creativity Works in the Brain. The report stems from a July 2014 research workshop co-sponsored by the NEA and the Santa Fe Institute, an independent, nonprofit research and education center. The report follows other NEA initiatives at the intersection of the arts, health, and science, including the NEA/Walter Reed Healing Arts Partnership.
Stanford researchers found that walking boosts creative inspiration. They examined creativity levels of people while they walked versus while they sat. A person's creative output increased by an average of 60 percent when walking.
Have you ever hit one of those points in your life when you’re ready to move in a healthier direction? Whether its getting better sleep, moving more throughout the day or walking away from junk food, the realization dawns that now is the time. New Years’ resolutions come to mind. Well, not long ago I reached that point … and what I learned on my journey towards wellness reflected many of the critical tenets of creativity.
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