The Psychological Traits of Creativity

The Psychological Traits of Creativity

A new paper by psychologists Guillaume Furst, Paolo Ghisletta and Todd Lubart presents a psychological model for creativity and creative people.

The researchers identified three super-factors of personality found in creative minds:

  1. Plasticity: Consists of the personality trait of openness to experience and encompasses a high drive for exploration. People with this trait tend to have a lot of dopamine coursing through their brains.
  2. Divergence: Represents non-conformity, impulsivity, low agreeableness and low conscientiousness 
  3. Convergence: Reflects precision, persistence and critical sense.

"Convergence was strongly related to Plasticity. Those who were open to new experiences, inspired, energetic, and exploratory tended to also have high levels of persistence and precision. The common factor here is most likely high energy. Perspiration and inspiration feed off each other, leading to even higher energy levels."

How can creativity be associated with all of these things? - openness to experience, inspiration, high energy, impulsivity, rebelliousness, critical thinking, and precision?

Some of those traits may seem contradictory, but creativity involves many different stages. Those who are capable of reaching the heights of human creative expression are those who have the capacity for all of these characteristics and behaviors within themselves and are flexibly able to switch back and forth between them depending on the stage of the creative process, and what’s most adaptive in the moment.

Cited Work:

Fü rst, G., Ghisletta, P. and Lubart, T. (2014), Toward an Integrative Model of Creativity and Personality: Theoretical Suggestions and Preliminary Empirical Testing. The Journal of Creative Behavior. doi: 10.1002/jocb.71

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