09.13.16 Notes on Explaining Creativity by R. Keith Sawyer

(p. 3) sociocultural approach to creativity considers the social and cultural context combined with personal psychology in the creative process


(p. 12) historically creativity was considered a superhuman force.


(p. 13)unique message of artists is a new thing.


(p. 15) rationalism – creativity from a conscious, deliberate, rational mind

  1. Romanticism – creativity from spontaneous, unconscious mind


(p. 27) Big C creativity – Only solutions to difficult problems are creative


(p. 28) sociocultural value


(p. 44) convergent v. divergent thinking (intelligence/creativity)


(p. 47) creativity traits= highly effective people, not necessarily dysfunctional


(p. 50)  Western thought says that many creative pursuits are low status and impractical. Parents steer children away


(p. 51) Gruber’s “network of enterprises” overlapping creative projects


(p. 52) creative people are intrinsically motivated. extrinsic motivation tends to be damaging.

Personal Note: Poor response to criticism?


(p. 55) Thought Experiment: Describing a mentor


(p. 58) Stages of the Creative Process

Idealist – It’s done when you come up with the idea

Action theory – execution is necessary part

Stages – Preparation, Inculpation, Insight, Verification (evaluation & Elaboration)


(p. 78) No Creativity Gene


(p. 83) NO evidence for the idea that people are right/left brain dominate


(p. 84) Creativity associated with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia but NO EVIDENCE


(p. 86) Sylvia Plath Quote “When you are insane, you are busy being insane -all the time.. When I was crazy, That is all I was.”


(p. 95) Thought Experiments. Is your personality similar to one or both of your parents?

Is your level of creativity the same as your parents?

According to your parents did you show a special creative talent very early in childhood? Do you think you were born with that talent?

Did your parents do anything while you were growing up to encourage your creative abilities?

If your parents hadn’t done those things would you still be creative now?

Or, if they had done more would you be more creative now?


(p. 120) “…Groups are more creative than individuals.”


(p. 121) “Advertising executive Ales Osborn (1953) coined the term brainstorming to describe his method of creative problem solving, and Gordon’s synectics (1961) claimed that group thinking is always superior to individual thinking.”