Individual Differences in Creativity: Personality, Story Writing, and Hobbies Uwe Wolfradt and Jean E. Pretz, European Journal of Personality (2001)
Is there a creative personality? • Ways to study creativity: • Assess the creativity of specified projects; understand the mental processes behind a creative endeavor; assess the characteristics of “creative” people; look at how environmental factors shape creativity • Goal of present study: to look at the relationship between individual differences and creativity
Is there a creative personality? • Previous findings: • Feist’s 1998 meta-analysis: “creative people tend to be more autonomous, introverted, open to new experiences, norm-doubting, self-confident, self-accepting, driven, ambitious, dominant, hostile, and impulsive” • Results of how creativity relates to the other dimensions of the 5FM not definitive • Possibly a relationship with neuroticism? • Conflicting results for conscientiousness and agreeableness
Is there a creative personality? • Creativity has also been studied as it relates to aspects of schizotypy, particularly the positive symptoms • Present study: how does creativity (as measured 3 different ways) relate to the 5FM? To depersonalization?
Methods • 204 students • 112 females, 92 males; ages 18-44 • 40% psychology students, 23% art & design students, remaining from the sciences and various other subjects • More female psychology and art majors and more male science majors • Creativity was measured using the CPS, a story writing task, and a task involving the listing of personal hobbies • Personality and aspects of cognitive style were assessed using a battery of questionnaires
Results • Factor analysis extracted 2 main factors: • 1) avoidant-helpless style: reflects more aspects of emotional instability • 2) creative-approach style: reflects a more creative and open personality • The creative measures load on the same factor, but not clear how they relate to each other (low correlations) • CPS predicted by a combination of high scores on E, O, and intuitive thinking
Results • Hobby creativity predicted by openness and gender (females scoring higher) • Creative story writing predicted by O, gender, and low scores on C • Science students showed lower creativity and openness scores compared to those who studies psychology and art & design • Females scored higher on the CPS, story creativity, N, E, A, and creative-approach problem solving styles • When gender was controlled for in the highest and lowest thirds of the sample for depersonalisation, these groups were found to be higher in N, less tolerant of ambiguity, lower in E, A, and C
Discussion • Confirmed previous studies’ results that O is positively related to creativity (as measured by creative personality traits and hobbies) • E also found to be positively related to creativity (especially on the creative personality scale) • Creative ideas may be sparked by social interaction but then the work required to produce and develop the ideas is an essentially solitary task (Feist, 1998) • Wolfradt and Pretz reasoned that some creative individuals may not have experienced themselves as introverts yet, which will perhaps happen when they become experts in their respective fields. • N not a predictor of creativity on any measure • Depersonalisation not a predictor of any creativity measures, but does have relationship with other predictors of creativity • Suggests that depersonalisation may facilitate a creatively orientated thinking style
Discussion • Two factors emerged from the data: • Characterised by O, E, intuitive thinking, tolerance of ambiguity and the 3 creativity measures • Characterised by N, depersonalisation, helpless-avoidant problem solving style, low E, low C, low A, and intolerance of ambiguity
Discussion • So why did the results not demonstrate the introverted, depersonalised, and neurotic side of the creative personality? • Nature of the creativity measures: did not provide sufficient assessment of the creativity of participants • Nature of the participants: did not succeed in obtaining a large range of creativity in the students
Discussion • Openness to experience was the single characteristic common to all creative participants on all measures of creativity • Openness as a • Catalyst for creative ability (McCrae, 1987): • Openness may be the only common personality dimension among various types of creative people • Cognitive ability: • In the scientific fields, C and introversion may contribute to the fulfillment of creative ideas into creative achievement whereas in other fields an extraverted personality with a tendency towards bioeccentricity may be most rewarded in the field
Discussion • The nature of creativity differs among people in various domains • The most creative people seem to be open to new experiences but beyond this, the fit of their personality with the demands of their field is important for success • It is possible that this study embodies the characteristics that precondition a mature creative personality. • Future studies should use a sample that includes experienced individuals in various creative domains at differing levels of creative expertise.