Let’s Be Creative: What’s new in creativity research?

Philip Fine tells us about a newly published eBook looking at novel ways of researching creativity.


Though creativity has many definitions, it essentially describes behaviours which lead to novel and meaningful products and outcomes. We can observe creativity in all domains of human behaviour, thought and experience, including creative cognition and problem-solving (divergent thinking and insight), artistic performance (music, dance) and creative design and production (art, design, fashion).

To learn more about creativity, researchers study:

  • Why people differ in how creative they are – the ‘individual differences’ angle;
  • What people do when they are being creative – the creative process;
  • What is being created – the creative product;
  • The influence of the environment and other external factors on creativity.

Creativity research has a long history , and many disciplines investigate creativity, including psychology, performance science, neuroscience and education. However, much of this research is done in isolation from other disciplines, and there is a need for cross-fertilisation of ideas and methods. Additionally, research techniques advance continually, so we can ask: what’s new in creativity research? What new research methods and approaches have researchers developed recently? And how much interdisciplinary creativity research is actually taking place?

To answer these questions, Dr Philip Fine and Dr Kathryn Friedlander of our very own CREATE hub, together with Dr Amory Danek, Dr Ian Hocking and Professor Bill Thompson, have recently completed co-editing a special issue of the open-access journal Frontiers in Psychology, entitled: Novel Approaches for Studying Creativity in Problem-Solving and Artistic Performance. It contains 27 articles showcasing the ‘state of the art’ in creativity research, and our recently published over-arching Editorial.

We are delighted that the special issue has now been published as an eBook, which can be downloaded for you to read offline at your leisure. The eBook is organised into 4 chapters, collecting articles researching similar domains of creativity together:

  • Insight
  • Other aspects of creative cognition, such as divergent thinking and other problem-solving
  • Creative artistic performance – music, dance and poetry
  • Creative artistic production – art, design and fashion

For more information, please have a look at our conference poster presented at the ESCoP conference last September, and do go and read our Editorial, which will give you a flavour of the special issue.

Dr. Philip Fine is Senior Lecturer in Psychology and co-director of the CREATE Research Hub at the University of Buckingham.

Image: Shutterstock 225930193, under licence.

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