Edited by: Stanley Rosner Ph.D and Lawrence Edwin Abt,
recognized authorities examine the illusive nature of
creativity, each from the vantage point of his own
|| David H. Feldman, Ph.D.
|| Albert Hofstadter, Ph.D.
a provocative concluding chapter the editors trace and
pull together the elements common to all of the
contributed papers. An extensive bibliography of
the theory of creativity and Subject/Name Index
complete the work.
Stamm (American Imago, Winter, 1976) described Essays as
“a courageous attempt to update our current
understanding of the creative process and the creative
experience. The total work provides an eclectic
approach to the problem.”
in examining points of view about the nature of
creativity originally stemmed from a series of
interviews, conducted by the editors with creative
persons in the arts and sciences, that have found
expression in two companion volumes, The Creative
Experience and The Creative Expression.
works are directed to an exploration and understanding
of the essentially subjective factors involved in
creative behavior. We have looked at the creative
behavior of our interviewees within the total context of
their life experiences, and have sought to relate
it to their feelings and emotions, their motivations and
drives, their value systems and world outlooks.
What emerged from our inquiry was a fascinating, if
incomplete, picture of the dynamic tensions
characteristic of creative effort.
interviews were directed toward uncovering, to the
extent possible, factors of a highly personal nature
associated with the processes of birth of ideas, their
gestation, and their expression in the medium of choice.
Many of the person interviewed were puzzled about the
sources of their creative urges, and some had their own
conceptions. As psychologists, we were led by our
interviews to further inquiry about the nature of
creative behavior; this book reflects our concern about
systematic ways of looking at creativity.
is a large and growing literature on creativity in which
many empirical and some experimental data are presented.
There is a continuing – and impatient – concern in
many quarters about the outcomes of research on
creativity. There is also, and significantly, a
recognition of the need for still more empirical – and
if possible, experimental studies of the whole process
of creation, of those who provide it, and of the
creative products themselves. It is clear that
much good work has been done and equally clear that much
more remains to be accomplished.
all research with which we are familiar has been
undertaken in the context of one or another theoretical
position. The chapters that follow look at
creativity from the point of view of several of the more
is our view that all theory, in whatever science, should
be heuristic; that is, it should guide and inspire
research and provide opportunities for organizing and
understanding the results of empirical and experimental
investigations. To the extent that it accomplishes
these aims, a theory is worthy of interest and study.
We recognize that theories change to reflect the
accommodation of new data and to permit the better
organization of older data. We also recognize that
theories can become methodological straight jackets and
conceptual thickets. Like human beings who
construct them, in the course of their lives, theories
face crises that force reformulations and sometimes
total abandonment (Kuhn, 1970). In the behavioral
sciences, there is reason to believe that some of our
theories face crises; but the responses to be made are
is the present state of theory with respect to
creativity? What are some of the principal
conceptual trends in current theory and theory building
in this area? The chapters that follow offer
answers to such questions from certain points of view.
Is there something to be said from a more systematic
point of view, and are we ready to say it? Viewing
the material in the chapters that follow, we set forth
some of the requirement for a more systematic position
in the final chapter.
of creativity, like those of behavioral science in
general, need to organize critical facts and data
concerning creativity considered in its widest sense –
as experience, as behavior, as process, and as product.
Moreover, such theories need to define research area, to
determine empirical and experimental approaches, and to
offer supportable interpretations of research findings.
is our view that such fundamental needs have not been
fully met. Certainly the several theoretical
approaches included here move in the direction of a more
comprehensive approach to a theory of creativity, but
each falls short of providing a conceptualization that
is both systematic and unified. This goal remains
a challenge for the future.