Fight For Our Right to Creativity
November 1, 2013

Fight For Our Right To Creativity

Creativity. This is a word that elicits many images. For some, creativity comes in the form of art work—paintings, sculptures, drawings, and other visual arts. Others see creativity through acting and drama while others still think of creativity in terms of story writing. And still some feel creativity is that and so much more. Yet in today’s world, creativity is also scorned, teased, and neglected. Schools cut the arts—writing, art, and drama—first in times of budget crisis. Creativity is often ignored in education as a means of intelligence.

Still, the most important inventions and progress throughout history have come from the most creative individuals. These people do the proverbial “think outside the box” thing. And that is good. In fact, creativity is so good that researchers have looked into testing creativity levels. According to an article on redOrbit, “Researchers have devised a new test that is able to measure a person’s creativity and get to the bottom of what it takes to create. The new technique sets the stage for scientists to determine how the brain comes up with unusually creative ideas. Scientists believe there is a lot of hard work going on in the brain even when it seems as though coming up with an idea is effortless.”

The test took 193 participants and showed them a series of nouns. The participants then had to respond with an appropriate verb. For instance, if the participants were  shown the noun chair, then they could say sit, stand, slide, move, or some other verb that appropriately fit with the noun chair. The most common verb with chair would obviously be sit, so the more different the verb was from the word sit, the more creative it was deemed.

But that was not the only way the researchers studied creativity. The participants were also measured based on their creativity in story writing, drawing, and other creative achievements. In fact, “those who gave creative answers in the noun-verb test were the most creative as measured by the more in-depth methods, suggesting this test could be successful by itself in measuring creativity.”

Just in case those two methods were not enough, researchers also completed non-verb tests in an MRI so that the brain activity could be recorded. Each of these tests alone showed good possibilities for testing creativity; however, combined together they brought about even stronger measures of the participants’ creativity levels.

The lead author of the paper on this research, Jeremy Gray of Michigan State University, said, “Ultimately, this work could allow us to create better educational and training programs to help people foster their creativity.” In so many instances, our creativity is not fostered. In fact, often it is left behind. It is nice to read about research that looks into better understanding how the brain works and how creativity comes about.

Sir Ken Robinson gave a TED Talk in 2006 about education and creativity. His main thesis was that we need more creativity in learning instead of less. Well, actually, his main thesis was that schools kill creativity. I agree with him. This study on testing creativity gives me even a little bit of hope that we are focusing on creativity again. Creativity is where culture originates. If we continue to kill it, we continue to homogenize culture thus eliminate it. We must fight for creativity. We must defend our creative ideas. And we must demand more creativity in our lives.

Image Credit: Thinkstock

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Digg Reddit Stumbleupon Email


Rayshell E. Clapper is an Associate Professor of English at a rural college in Oklahoma where she teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition classes. She has presented her original fiction and non-fiction at several conferences and events including: Scissortail Creative Writing Festival, Howlers and Yawpers Creativity Symposium, Southwest/Texas Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association Regional Conference, and Pop Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference. Her publications include Cybersoleil Journal, Sugar Mule Literary Magazine, Red Dirt Anthology, Originals, and Oklahoma English Journal. Beyond her written works, she successfully created a writer's group in rural Oklahoma to support burgeoning writers. The written word is her passion, and all she experiences inspires that passion. She hopes to help inspire others through her words.

Send Rayshell an email