King, Nigel (2000) Creativity as a social phenomenon: a review and critique. In: 4th Consciousness and Experiential Psychology Section Conference, 22th – 24th September 2000, Somerville College, Oxford. (Unpublished)

Creativity is a central concept in the psychology of consciousness and experience which, for the most part, psychologists have approached from essentialist and individualist positions. For example, psychodynamic writers have examined the link between creativity and mental dysfunction, humanists have considered its role in selfactualisation, while cognitivists have developed computational models of the creative process. This stresses the need to study creativity as a truly social phenomenon, arising through our interactions with the social world we inhabit. It examines attempts to develop a social psychology of creativity, such as Amabile’s ‘componential model’, and Csikszentmihalyi’s ‘systems model’, showing how these tend to collapse back into reductionist individualistic accounts. Finally, it argues for the value of perspectives from phenomenological and constructivist psychology for future research in the area.

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