Divergent Thinking and Creativity
Divergent thinking is a process that is used to make goals and decisions while generating ideas or updating the older ideas into new ones. Usually used in the context of brainstorming, divergent thinking ends up in creativity or being creative. Through divergent thinking creativity is enhanced by considering, in the process of looking for new ideas or designing a solution to a problem, it considers one or all of the following:
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- many, as opposed to only a few, ideas;
- a wide range of ideas; and
- unusual ideas (Baer, 1993, p. 33).
The relationship between Divergent thinking and Creative process
According to Einstein’s epistemology, human creativity is a dynamic cycle that involves the synthesis of genes, mind, and brain. This interactive synthesis between divergence and creativity where on one hand enables humans in decision making on the other hand it helps them to form social relationships. (Rossi, 2005)
What is Flow?
‘Flow’ according to Dr. Csikszentmihalyi, is a psychological experience of fulfillment and inner human satisfaction which can take place in any field of interest. This satisfaction causes deep human motivation to exceed the limitations set by human boundaries. Dr. Csikszentmihalyi discovered that ‘flow’ upholds a reinforcing character of ‘flow states’ which are those pleasurable periods of complete immersion in the activity of creation that come to characterize the creative individual. It is due to this flow that fresh energy confers upon creativity research by the efforts of individuals drawn from cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, and cognitive science (Csikszentmihalyi et al, 1994, p. 71).
According to Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi what value does the creative process have in human motivation?
Motivations, personality, cognitive integration – all are certain aspects of creativity. Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi has mostly focussed his research upon ‘behavioral state-related gene expression’ which serves as a fundamental link between psychology and biology. The consciousness in psychotherapy reveals that gene expression is a fundamental resource of behavior that is governed by psychosocial and cultural rituals to facilitate health, performance, and healing (Rossi, 2005) in such a manner that it exhibits human motivation. For example in alcoholism treatment, without motivational attitude from the patient’s side, any practitioner is unable to help the patient recover. (Diclemente et al, 1999) However ‘flow’ is a value which when combines with human motivation, results in some creativity.
Throughout history creative processes have been attributed to values (Kasof, 1995). Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in The Positive Psychology of Interested Adolescents states that flow causes experience, but without selective interest experience is useless or it does not have manner. However consciousness contents mediate interest in a mind which develops relationship between a person and its social environment.
Interest grows in two forms, selection and motivation. Motivation is necessary in order to develop skills in an individual. According to Tomkins (1962) “Without interest no competence can be achieved” (Tomkins, 1962, p. 343).
Social, environmental and cognitive Factors that impact Creativity
A social aspect that defines creativity may be intangible or intangible forms like physical features, daily use products, or plans and strategies. Csikszentmihalyi (1988) has stated that the social agreement is also among one of the social factors and elements of creativity without which the social approach phenomenon would not exist (Csikszentmihalyi, 1988, p. 327). Creativity in the context of society has always been as a servant because in ancient times, it is the creative phenomenon that made the world modernized. Even the initial human beings on earth were creative enough to discover physical features like how to lit fire, how to hunt food? etc.
The environmental factors have an indirect influence on creativity. We can say that creativity and environment are reciprocal (Cropley, 2006). Creativity can change the environment like a car can easily pollute the environment (Cropley, 2006).
Personality that upholds many cognitive styles and cognitive psychology that helps in the creative thinking process is not limited to the positive factors. Although creativity is impacted by positive as well as negative factors but history provides many examples of the evil genius whose creativity works for destructive ends.
Cognitive approaches come under the broad heading of ‘experimental psychological’ approaches to creativity and are concerned with fuller understanding of the kinds of mental operations which underpin creative thought. Recent studies, using techniques from artificial intelligence, have seen computational simulations of the creative movements of the mind in a range of activities from attempting to reproduce the processes of discovery of scientific laws to a re-creation of processes of jazz improvisation (Carter, 2004, p. 36). Thus creativity involves a combination of social, environmental and cognitive factors to discover a solution to problems.
Baer John, (1993) Creativity and Divergent Thinking: A Task-Specific Approach: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates: Hillsdale, NJ.
Carter Ronald, (2004) Language and Creativity: The Art of Common Talk: Routledge: New York.
Cropley Arthur, (2006) “Creativity: A Social Approach” In: Roeper Review. Volume: 28. Issue: 3. p. 125.
Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1988) “Society, culture and person: a systems view of creativity” In: Sternberg, R.J. (ed.) The Nature of Creativity: Cambridge University Press: 325-39.
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Csikszentmihalyi Mihaly, Feldman David Henry & Gardner Howard, (1994) Changing the World: A Framework for the Study of Creativity: Praeger: Westport, CT.
Diclemente C., Carlo, Bellino E., Lori & Neavins M., Tara, (1999) “Motivation for Change and Alcoholism Treatment” In: Alcohol Research & Health. Volume: 23. Issue: 2. p. 86.
Kasof Joseph (1995) “Explaining Creativity: The Attributional Perspective” In: Creativity Research Journal. Volume: 8. Issue: 4.
Rossi Lawrence Ernest, (2005) “Einstein’s Eternal Mystery of Epistemology Explained: The Four-Stage Creative Process in Art, Science, Myth, and Psychotherapy” In: Annals of the American Psychotherapy Association. Volume: 8. Issue: 1. p: 4+.
Tomkins, S. (1962). Affect Imagery Consciousness. Polyglot, New York.