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Creativity research

The concept of creativity has undergone many modifications from the pre-Christian ?poque to the present (Albert and Runco, 1999) as has the meaning of the word 'creativity' itself.

In the 19th century, creativity became an object of scientific interest. In the 1950s, creativity research emerged as a separate field of knowledge.

The research literature on creativity is enormous and highly heterogeneous. Creativity has been studied 'from so many frequently incompatible theoretical perspectives, each with its own assumptions, methodologies, biases, and even meta-theoretical views' (Brown, 1989: 3) that reviewing this field of research is not an easy task. The situation is aggravated by the lack of unified terminology and an integral view that could help to coordinate various aspects of creativity research. As Ochse (1990: 2) put it,

'creativity' means different things to different people - even to different psychologists. Indeed it seems that 'creativity' means different things even to the same person, and that some writers are happy to ignore the distinctions between their various conceptions of creativity - leaping blithely to conclusions about one type of creativity on the basis of facts relating to another.

Wehner, Csikszentmihalyi, and Magyari-Beck (1991) reviewed 100 doctoral dissertations on creativity from psychology, education, business, history, history of science, and other fields, such as sociology and political science and found a "parochial isolation" between various disciplines studying creativity. They discovered, for example, that business-oriented research showed preference for the term innovation and focused primarily on the organizational aspects of creativity, while psychology research used the term creativity and was concerned mostly with the level of the individual. Creativity research remains highly compartmentalized. "Creatology", a term suggested by Magyari-Beck (1990, 1999) for a cross-disciplinary study of creativity, has not been generally accepted and is rarely used.

However, significant efforts have been made to systematize existing approaches, methods, concepts and terms. There are a few annotated bibliographies on creativity (Stein, 1960; Gowan, 1961, 1965; Razik, 1965; Arasteh and Arasteh, 1976; Anthony, 1981; McLeish and Varey, 1992) as well as a significant number of general presentations of creativity theories (c.f. Stein and Heinze, 1960; Freeman, Butcher and Christie, 1968; Vernon 1970; Bloomberg, 1973; Brown, 1989; Runco and Albert, 1990; Sternberg and Lubart, 1999). Recently several compendiums meticulously discussing various concepts and approaches of creativity theory have been published (Torrance et al., 1989; Runco, 1997; Sternberg, 1999; Runco and Pritzker, 1999).

Creativity research. Dictionary of Creativity: Terms, Concepts, Theories & Findings in Creativity Research / Compiled and edited by Eugene Gorny., 2007.
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