How Creative Are You?


Friday, April 26, 2013

The man nicknamed “the father of creativity” was psychologist E. Paul Torrance. In the 1940s he began researching creativity in order to improve American education. In order to encourage creativity, we needed to define it — to measure and analyze it. We measured intelligence with an IQ score; why not measure creativity?

Torrance drew on contemporary research that related creativity to divergent thinking — the characteristic of coming up with more answers, or more original answers, rather than deriving a single best answer. That divergent-thinking trait might exhibit itself in different situations, so that, in Torrance’s view, the creativity shown by an artist was not different in type than the creativity shown by a scientist, a teacher, or a parent. The Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking were the work of Paul Torrance’s lifetime. They are still widely used to assess students and job applicants, and have been translated into more than 50 languages.

But there’s a problem. “I’m not sure I have a definition of creativity,” says James Borland. And Borland should know; he’s a professor of education at Teachers College, Columbia University. “It’s one of those human constructions that isn’t discovered but invented ... It’s a word we use in everyday speech and it makes perfect sense, but when you start to study it and try to separate out its constituent parts, it becomes more and more and more confusing. Nobody agrees on what it is.” How can we measure something if we can’t agree on what it is?

(Originally aired: November 23, 2012)

Comments [3]

Robert Toth from Salisbury, NC

My Lincoln sculpture for the Bush Library at >

See Viddeo interview by News 14 TV Carolina at Facebook Robert Richard Toth and more on Youtube > RT-Designs USA.

Thank you for feedback


May. 12 2013 02:46 PM

I heard on the radio that Kerrie Hillman "begged" that her drawing of the finger (from the creativity test) not be put online and they put it up anyway, so of course I had to have a look. Kerrie, I don't know what your own experience with drawing is - maybe you've had some kind of advanced artistic training and have high standards for yourself. But this drawing actually looks like what it's supposed to be, which is better than most people could do (especially in a testing situation). I think creativity is often ruined by school. For drawing, I like the book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. For school, I like unschooling.

Apr. 28 2013 11:31 AM
Coogan from NYC

A rather beautiful sketch.... funny Kerrie was shy about it being seen. She has a cool style!

Apr. 28 2013 11:20 AM

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