The Value of Creativity

Creativity is fast becoming recognised as the most important professional skill in the modern world, with global entities like the World Economic Forum and LinkedIn trumpeting its premium value.

We believe it’s also key to personal growth and wellbeing. But is there any science to back up this claim?

The Science

We are guided by valid quantifiable research. The last fifty years has seen an explosion in scientific studies of creativity, and we now understand more than ever before the structures and processes in the brain that govern thinking that is insightful, ingenious and inventive. In addition, we are finding out more and more about how creativity is of measurable benefit to people.

Here are just some of the many studies demonstrating the often life-changing value of engaging in regular creative thought and behaviour.

Benefits of creativity: the evidence

Personal growth

In a published study it was found that people who engage regularly in “everyday creativity” report significantly higher ratings of “personal growth". [1]

Brain Function

MRI scans show that doing creative art changes the brain, increasing connectivity in the “Default Mode Network”, which is key to imaginative thought. [2]

Anxiety

Research shows that doing even a brief period of creative activity, like clay modelling or collage making, significantly decreases levels of anxiety. [3]

Mood

A large experiment discovered that doing everyday creative activities causes positive emotions the following day. [4]

Health

Research at the Mayo Clinic has found that people who engage in artistic pursuits like drawing, painting and sculpting may delay cognitive decline in very old age. [5]

Self-esteem

One published study found a strong correlation between the level of a person’s creative output and their reported level of self-esteem. [6]

References


[1] Ivcevic, Z. (2007). “Artistic and Everyday Creativity: An Act-Frequency Approach.” In Journal of Creative Behavior, Volume 41, Number 4, pp. 271-290.

[2] Bolwerk, A., Mack-Andrick, J., Lang, F.R., Dörfler, A. and Maihöfner, C. (2014). “How Art Changes Your Brain: Differential Effects of Visual Art Production and Cognitive Art Evaluation on Functional Brain Connectivity.” In PLOS ONE 9(12): e116548.

[3] Sandmire, D.A., Roberts Gorham, S. Rankin, N.E. and Grimm, D.R. (2012). In Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association, Volume 29, 2012 - Issue 2.

[4] Conner, T.S., DeYoung, C.G. Silvia, P.J. (2016). “Everyday creative activity as a path to flourishing.” In The Journal of Positive Psychology, Volume 13, 2018 - Issue 2, pages 181-189.

[5] Roberts, R.O., Cha, R.H., Mielke, M.M., Geda, Y.E., Boeve, B.F., Machulda, M.M., Knopman, D.S. and Petersen, R.C. (2015). “Risk and protective factors for cognitive impairment in persons 85 years and older.” In Neurology, 84(18), 1854-61. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000001537.

[6] Goldsmith, R.E. and Matherly, T.A. (1988). “Creativity and Self-Esteem: A Multiple Operationalization Validity Study.” In The Journal of Psychology Interdisciplinary and Applied, Volume 122, 1988 - Issue 1. Pages 47-56. Published online: 04 Nov 2012.

A Missing Piece of the Puzzle

Considering the increasing value attached to creative thinking in today’s Information Age, why isn’t creativity something that’s being taught systematically everywhere to everyone as a matter of course in schools, businesses and organisations across the world as we speak?

The answer is that there has been something seriously missing in the theoretical understanding of the area. There has never, in fact, been a “grand theory” of creativity. Biology has Darwinism. Physics has Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. Economics has Keynesianism and Monetarism, among others. Creativity? Nothing remotely as all-encompassing and powerful.

Some scientific models of creativity have seemed to solve parts of the puzzle, but there’s never been a theory that explains the big picture.

That is, until Dr. Michael Bloomfield set his mind to solving this great and enduring mystery.


The Big Theory

A long time ago in library far, far away, Michael’s journey began. Combining his own personal obsession with creativity, an anthropological understanding of the human mind and imagination, and the latest cognitive science, he spent well over a decade of painstaking academic research trying to crack the problem.

At last he developed the first complete theory of creativity – Generator Theory.

It is this theory that put forward the revolutionary idea that creativity is at root a kind of language – one which has a “grammar”, a hidden set of specific cognitive and conceptual rules or laws that underpin creativity itself.

Now, anyone can learn the grammar – and become fluent in Creative.

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