Week 3 Tutorial

03 Nov

I decided I wanted to go back to week three’s reading on the theories of creativity, Roger’s self-actualisation theory is what I find the most plausible out of all the theories mentioned. From my understanding of this theory, it is about using your creative talent to grow and to become the person you are capable of being, although in terms of a career. I find it to be the most plausible as that is exactly what we are trying to achieve by studying an arts degree, we are surrounded by like-minded individuals which establishes a creative environment, we are responsible for our own success or failure in regards to course work and we all have the opportunity to experience new things. For me that would be different areas of visual arts, such as printmaking, textiles and sculpture, to develop my skills and grow as an artist, which is what I mention in my mission statement.

Having said this though, I kind of disregarded this reading as I didn’t believe more than half of the theories were true or plausible, such as Freud and Skinner. To be honest I believe that everyone is creative on some level, it is just our mind set, whether we want to create just for the sake of creating or want to make a career out of it. I don’t believe that any one creative individual is more creative than the next, which is what, as an example, Mednick argues with his theory of mental associations.

Question 1.

Freud’s Psychoanalytic Account: Freud believed that the motivation to create was from our “unconscious conflict between the primitive sexual urges… and the repressive influences of our learned social conscience.” His theory was that a creative person accepts their “libido-stimulated fantasies” and channels that through their work, while an un creative person represses their urges.

Skinner’s Behaviourist Account: Skinner argued that there is no such thing as creativity, or freedom as behaviour is controlled by our superiors, such as parents, teachers, police etc. He believed that any product of creativity was that of genetics and the environment or surroundings.

Mednick’s Mental Association Theory: Mednick’s theory of creativity was based upon mental associations. A person that can associate a word with many other words is considered to be highly creative, where as a less creative person would have only a few dominate or basic mental associations.

Roger’s Self-Actualisation Theory: Self-Actualisation is the theory that the creative person is using their talent to grow or become the person they are capable of being. There are 4 important conditions of self-actualisation:

1. Psychological safety: A flexible and receptive creative environment.
2. Internal locus of evaluation: Making one’s own judgments, being responsible for your successes and failures. This means to be confident and independent.
3. Willingness to play with ideas and possibilities.
4. Openness to experience:
Generally being interested in experiences and ideas. Acknowledging your wants, needs and habits.

Sternberg’s Three-Facet Model: Focuses on the characteristics of a creative person.

1. Intelligence: Emphasis on verbal ability, fluent though, knowledge, planning, problem defining etc. Having a general intellectual balance.
2. Cognitive Style: Having a preference for creative occupations, creating their own rules and doing things their own way.
3. Personality and Motivation: Drive for accomplishment, perseverance, willingness to grow creatively and risk taking.

Amabile’s Three-Part Model: The first part is that a creative person has the relevant skills so they are competent in their performance within their domain, so they must know the technical skills of their talent. The second part is that one must have relevant skills of creativity. And the third part is motivation, having the right attitude for the task.

Csikszentmihaly’s and Gardner’s Three-Part Models: To produce “true creativity” all three models must work together.

1. The Creative Person: Provides the necessary ability or talent.
2. The Domain: Receives formal training in their chosen domain.
3. The Field: Society judges the creative output.

Simonton’s Chance-Configuration Theory: Simonton’s theory is that chance plays a large role in creativity. He believes that “individuals become “creative” only insofar as they impress others with their creativity.” (Simonton, 1988)

Question 2.

When I engage in my creative practice, whether it is visual arts or photography, I like to write my ideas down in a visual diary, collect pictures and take photos as research. In relation to the reading I don’t find that I have to force myself into some kind of day dream between my unconscious/conscious mind to draw my ideas from, generally my ideas will come from experiences or things that I see or hear. So I guess my own theory is that I create from inspiration.


Davis, G. A. (2004). Definitions and Theories. Creativity is forever (pp. 58-73). (5th Ed.). USA: Kendell/Hunt.

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Posted by on November 3, 2011 in Tutorial


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