Written by Yosuke Yamaguchi and Machiko Sannomiya
Beliefs about creativity among Japanese university students and the influence of such beliefs on attitudes about creative thinking were investigated. In Study 1, beliefs about creativity were surveyed using a sentence completion test. Classifying the variables indicated by participants to be conducive to creative thinking identified five types of beliefs about creativity: Condition, Fortune, Talent, Effort and Timing. In Study 2, we developed a questionnaire to assess beliefs about creativity.
Japanese university students (n = 208) responded to the questionnaire. Multiple regression analysis using Structural Equation Modeling indicated that each type of creative belief differentially influenced attitudes about creative thinking. Talent orientation was negatively associated with Originality and Flexibility, whereas Fortune orientation was negatively associated with Persistency. In contrast, Effort orientation was positively associated with Persistency, Inquisitiveness, Curiosity, Flexibility and Aggressiveness. Moreover, Timing orientation was positively associated with Curiosity, whereas it was negatively associated with Flexibility. Implications of these findings are discussed and indications for further research on creative beliefs are outlined.
As the world has become more and more complex, the concern with creativity has increased (Runco, 2004). How can we improve our creative thinking abilities? Adams (1974) proposed that the process of consciously identifying conceptual blocks was essential for overcoming them and improving the ability to think creatively. A considerable number of studies have been conducted on factors that influence creativity. According to a review by Batey and Furnham (2006), much research has been directed to relationships between creativity, intelligence and personality. Moreover, studies have been conducted from diverse perspectives, such as motivation, affect, cognitive capacity, the social environment, culture and neurology (for reviews, see Hennessey & Amabile, 2010; Runco, 2004).
In the present study, we focused on beliefs about creativity, which have been given relatively little attention in previous studies. Such beliefs are assumed to be formed unconsciously, as a result of experience, and to influence a wide range of characteristics, such as motivation, attitudes, behavior and performance during creative thinking. von Oech (1983) described beliefs that prevented people from being creative, which included the following: ‘The right answer’, ‘To err is wrong’ and ‘I’m not creative’. von Oech called these ‘mental locks’. Also, Weisberg (1986) reported stereotypes called ‘Creativity Myths’ among ordinary people. Creativity myths are beliefs such as, ‘Only those who have talent can accomplish creative works of art, or science’ and ‘Creative people have a personality that is different from ordinary people’. Moreover, it has been recognized that myths about creativity are widely held among university students (Agata & Okada, 2009) and working people (Basadur & Hausdorf, 1996; Basadur, Taggar & Pringle, 1999).
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