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Developing Creativity: Notable Research and Books in 2012

In a recent Creativity Post article, science writer Sam McNerney provides a stimulating and encouraging overview of a “renaissance in creativity in both the lab and the pages of popular books and magazines.”

He says that “Cognitive flexibility, the ability to switch between thinking about two concepts or consider multiple perspectives simultaneously” is a “popular topic in the neuroscience world.”

Darya Zabelina, a creativity researcher at Northwestern University told him “a lot of people are studying cognitive flexibility from a lot of different perspectives.”

The image is from her article “Are You a Synesthete?,” in which she says “Four percent of the population, when seeing number 5, also see color red. Or hear a C-sharp when seeing blue. Or even associate orange with Tuesdays. And among artists, the number goes to 20-25%!” [Here is more on synesthesia.]

From my post Hearing in Colors, Tasting Voices: The Experience of Synesthesia.

McNerney quotes Paul Silvia “who researches creativity and aesthetics, among other topics” that “film and creativity is going to become popular; maybe music and creativity as well.” McNerney adds that Silvia “is currently working on a paper co-authored with Emily Nusbaum that looks at unusual aesthetic states such as awe, the chills, and crying.”

[Paul J. Silvia is author of How to Write a Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic Writing.]

In my post More Intelligence, More Creative?, I quote researcher Jonathan Wai on their studies: “The authors point out that all of the major creativity textbooks contend that intelligence and creativity are essentially unrelated abilities.  However, Nusbaum and Silvia conclude based on their studies that ‘fluid and executive cognition is in fact central to creative thought.’

“Certainly there are facets of creativity that are different from intelligence and I am not saying creativity and intelligence are synonymous. Yet I think what these studies suggest is that there is probably more overlap between intelligence and creativity than we realize.”


McNerney goes on to point out, “Countless popular psychology books that either focused on or mentioned creativity were published in 2012.

“Susan Cain lambasted brainstorming and ‘GroupThink’ in her bestseller and introvert manifesto Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. Drawing on a wide body of robust research she reminded our hyper social world that working alone is usually better than working in groups in terms of productivity and creativity.

Dan Ariely’s book The Honest Truth About Dishonesty contains a chapter on the relationship between dishonesty and creativity – honesty might not be good for creativity.

The Power Of Habit by Charles Duhigg made some important suggestions for creativity: if you’re in a rut, try changing your routine.

“The elephant in the room is Jonah Lehrer’s Imagine: The Science of Creativity, which the public gobbled up.”

[Also see my post Jonah Lehrer on the Science of Creativity & Innovation.]

Read more in The Science of Creativity in 2013: Looking Back to Look Forward, By Sam McNerney.

Also see more titles in my list of Books for the Creative Mind.

You might also like posts on my main site in the category Creative inspiration – Muse.


Developing Creativity: Notable Research and Books in 2012

Douglas Eby

Douglas EbyDouglas Eby, MA/Psychology, is a writer and researcher on psychology and personal development related to creativity; creator of the , and author of books including [link to book site with excerpts.]
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APA Reference
Eby, D. (2013). Developing Creativity: Notable Research and Books in 2012. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 29, 2020, from


Last updated: 9 Jan 2013
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