The State of the Creative Art: What’s new in creativity research?

Philip Fine tells us about a new collection of articles looking at novel ways of researching creativity.


Frontiers

What is creativity? Why are some people more creative than others? What do we know about the creative process? How do people decide whether one product is more creative than another? 

Research has attempted to answer questions like these for decades, and made great progress in doing so. We can observe creativity in all domains of human thought, behaviour and experience, for instance creative cognition (insight, divergent thinking and creative problem-solving) and artistic performance (music, dance, art, design).

Many disciplines investigate creativity, including psychology, neuroscience, performance science, education, linguistics and philosophy. But we can ask: what’s new in the world of creativity research? What novel methods and approaches have been developed over the last few years?

To answer this question, 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 been 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.

Over the next few months, we will be publishing a number of blog articles discussing some of the contents of these 27 articles. For the moment, please have a look at our conference poster which was presented at the ESCoP conference in September. For more information, 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.

New MSc by Research – Psychology of Creativity and Performance Expertise

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We’re excited to announce that we are offering a new MSc by Research in the Psychology of Creativity and Performance Expertise, here at the University of Buckingham, with entry dates in September and January each year. This MSc is ideal for those with a first degree in Psychology who wish to take their knowledge further in this exciting field. Students can be full- or part-time.

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Are cryptic crosswords really ‘better than sex’?

Kathryn Friedlander explores the ‘kick’ we get from cracking a really good cryptic crossword clue.


A number of stories in the press earlier this year reported work carried out in Vienna and London on solving puzzles in a brain scanner. The study suggested that solving a clue to a puzzle can trigger a highly rewarding ‘Aha!’ (or ‘Eureka!’) insight moment, which releases dopamine into the brain. This is the reward chemical associated with daily activities such as eating, winning money … and having sex. This led to headlines promising that cryptic crosswords were ‘better than sex’… but what’s the reality behind the hype?

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Why are psychologists playing games?

Gill Hill explains why investigating creative problem solving is sometimes – quite literally – child’s play.


People might be surprised to hear that the games they played as children can help scientists to explain how people think. For example, researchers have recently used rock, paper scissors as a model for decision making. Furthermore, chess is seen as a pursuit for ‘thinkers’ around the world, and we have consequently seen lots of research exploring psychological processes whilst people play.

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