chapter  14
16 Pages

The Psychology of Creativity and Its Educational Consequences: John Sweller and Leon Mann


Psychologists have long been interested in creativity. There is a large body of literature dating from the early twentieth century to be found in handbooks, encyclopaedias, books and specialist journals. The most recent Annual Review of Psychology chapters on creativity by Runco (2004) and Hennessey and Amabile (2010) demonstrate the wide range of topics of interest to psychologists and the subfi elds in which work in this area is organised. This work includes cognitive processes, intelligence, personality and individual differences including psychopathology, developmental aspects including lifespan changes in creative capacity and skills, instruction and educational aspects (see McWilliam, this volume), social and group factors (see Mann, Chapter 10 this volume), emotion and motivational factors and neuropsychological and neurological substrates in brain activity. However, cognitive skills and processes such as thinking, problem-solving, intuition and so-called “Eureka” moments are at the heart of the creativity enterprise for psychologists. Cognitive psychology underpins the descriptions and accounts of what is involved in creative thinking and activity, and how creative people differ-if at all-in their problem-solving and thinking processes. The interest in cognitive processes in creativity also underpins questions such as whether creativity is domain specifi c or general, why some people are more creative than others, whether all people are creative, the nature of creative genius and what is involved in exceptional, sustained creativity.