While the cognitive side of many of these comments is interesting, I have to argue that, from experience, this is how things should be done in education. In my experience teaching college-level math-heavy courses, a firm basis in reasoning skills is the most critical step to academic success. Those who are, in addition to having high reasoning capability, also very creative perform the best, obviously... but a prerequisite of high-level reasoning skills is most critical.

If we are to become a nation which values STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education as highly as the fastest-growing economies today are, then we need to fully utilize the opportunity primary school presents to us as a vector for creating STEM-ready college candidates.

Many people (particularly those who have children which are or are themselves "creative but not gifted in math or science") believe this is an unfair proposition, since success would be weighted against them. However, I argue that everyone on this planet who is blessedly free of learning disorders is capable of creating the foundations required to succeed in any reasoning-oriented field. It is up to the parent to instill the discipline, values, and sense of self-esteem required for this. With this, children will be "ready to learn how to learn". Primary/secondary school will then teach them how to learn, and higher education will impart the actual knowledge necessary to get along in STEM fields... while the actual knowledge used day-to-day is naturally imparted through work experience.

In summary, my $0.02: Things are going well. We need disciplined, driven intellectuals foremost, while the creative few out of those many are the ones who will lead human society in the coming years.

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I thought my formulation was elegant enough. I agree with what you said, but would point out that rationality is required to bring ideas to fruition, else all you have is randomness. Hence my first statement.

Conversely, without creativity, there is nothing to rationalize.

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None of this supports the idea that schools actually do reduce creativity. Correlation is not causation. It is entirely plausible that the kids who were "ranked by their teachers as high on Citizenship and Drive to Achieve" would have been ranked as highly on citizenship and drive to achieve and as low on measures of creativity and mental flexibility if they had never been to school (although obviously, in this hypothetical, as they wouldn't have had teachers, their teachers couldn't have ranked them).

I also note the other potential explanation of high creatives' inverse ranking - high creatives fail to conform to teachers' expectations, so they decide that they don't wish to conform to teachers' expectations.

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I really agree with this analysis, Bruce. Thanks for linking it. I am one of the refugees from modern bureaucratic "Science" who had always wanted to be a scientist, until I saw first-hand how the academic sausage gets made. I had no desire to put myself through that political environment and boredom and tedium and unimportance for the next 10 years of my life (always subject to having your career utterly destroyed by someone who didn't like something about you), sucking up to the establishment in the hopes of landing an academic sinecure.

Hanson's characterization of modern society as lacking very much creativity is one I agree with, but I see it as an indictment and not a positive development as he does. Of course, as our financial system appears to be destroying itself through collective insanity, perhaps a few more creative thinkers like Denninger, Shedlock, and Nourini and a few less establishment hacks like Geithner and Bernanke in charge would be a change for the better. . .

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There is no rationality without creativity. Creativity is the primary medium of cognition and rationality is merely a subcomponent. There is no such thing as concept free general intelligence, despite what SIAI folks may try to claim. All general intelligence relies on explicit or implicit mental concepts or categories, and the generation and updating of these concepts (domain models, ontology, representations) always requires creativity.

To wit,reality itself is not 'concept free'. The universe itself deploys a 'self-representation' system, and thus exhibits 'creativity'. What do you think the 4D block universe (space-time continuum) of relativity theory is? It is both the fabric of reality itself and a creative representation of reality!

Concepts (creative representations) cannot be excised from any description of reality! Creativity is the fountain-head of all we survey.

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Creativity without rationality is useless.

Rationality without creativity is pointless.

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Heh, sounds like 'Free Thinkers'.

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This is truly astonishing. The cognitive blindness of some folks here is far worse than I realized. Replies seem to be denying that 'creativity' even exists. Let me provide precise definitions. The difference between creativity and rationality is as follows:

Rationality is concerned with determining how the world is and making decisions resulting in external actions that achieve pre-defined goals. Rationality is concerned with the external world

Creativity is concerned with creating novel representations of things that ease conscious thought by providing cognitive short-cuts (effective summaries). Creativity is concerned with internal thought proccesses.

Rationality is not creativity. Yet clearly it exists. Examples of 'novel representations' include all art (stories, paintings, music etc.), ontologies (domain models), engineering blueprints, clustering (logical categories), natural languages and signs and signals. Rationality alone will not make you good at producing the things I've listed.

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I think it is probably true that people learn to be uncreative. They may learn this in school, but it is really peers that people care about.

This article describes it as the "fourth grade slump":


the book impro is good on this:http://www.amazon.com/Impro...

It is good on status too so I am sure you would like it.

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For readers in the UK interested in testing their own creativity, the Creative Thinking World Championships will be held at the Mind Sports Olympiad in Soho, London at the end of August.

I entered the competition a few years ago and must say that it was the strangest written exam that I've ever taken.

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Here's a link to some creativity tests for adults, in the dating context, from a Geoffrey Miller paper (scroll down to appendices):


I can see how a large category of non-obeyers might not fully invest in these types of tests, especially since (unlike some school exams) there really can't be negative consequences to doing poorly. But I also guess that a many other consequence-free tests (like happiness) suffers from non-investment by certain types of people. I'm not sure this would be any worse. I also wonder about the forms the graders use to rank creativity.

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That sounds likely to me as well.

I wish I had data that clarified whether Openness lowers income controlling for IQ or simply doesn't impact income controlling for IQ.

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I suspect what many of these tests are actually measuring is randomness. A high IQ individual may be assessing and filtering different ideas for practicality when answering these tests.

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Jess - Why ever not? Running into a novel math or logic problem requires applying old ideas in new ways. Isn't that the very definition of creativity?

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Before we start trying to derive anything from these results, shouldn't we establish the validity of creativity tests first? Like TGGP, I would like to know what they actually predict in the real world.

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According to extensive work over many years by HJ Eysenck (eg his book Genius, 1995) Creativity and self-control (aka the personality trait of Conscientiousness) are pretty much opposites - people high in one, tend to be low in the other.

So modern culture's ever-increasing selectivity for self-control (e.g. through increased bureaucritization, changes in examinations towards 'continuous assessment, and lengthening years of formal 'education' prior to independent work) would be expected to reduce creativity in the leadership who have been through these selective sieves - and I believe it has substantially done so:


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