What is creativity?

Half Sigma ponders in some detail what it means to be creative, and he gives some factors associated with that label. While HS doesn’t go into everything, according to respectable lines of psychological research is predicted by

  • Background knowledge of the domain of the creative work
  • Working memory capacity
  • Self efficacy in the domain
  • Creative self efficacy
  • Openness to new experiences
  • Psychosis

Psychosis in this context can be thought of as “horizontal thinking,” “distant relationships, etc.” The appropriate level of psychosis varies depending on the domain. So clinical levels of psychosis is much higher among creative modern artists than among creative thermodynamic physicists, because domains with strong degrees of standardization weed out psychotics before they have the appropriate background knowledge needed to be creative in the first place.

The ordering of the “risk factors for creativity” is still open to debate. For instance, someone with low self efficacy in a domain, low working memory, and low openness to new experience can be just as creative, if they are forced to learn the materials required to get them background knowledge in the domain of the creative work.

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