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Creativity Across Domains: Faces of the Muse

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Creativity Across Domains: Faces of the Muse sorts through the sometimes-confusing theoretical diversity that domain specificity has spawned. It also brings together writers who have studied creative thinkers in different areas, such as the various arts, sciences, and communication/leadership. Each contributor explains what is known about the cognitive processes, ways of conceptualizing and solving problems, personality and motivational attributes, guiding metaphors, and work habits or styles that best characterize creative people within the domain he or she has investigated. In addition, this book features: *an examination of how creativity is similar and different in diverse domains; *chapters written by an expert on creativity in the domain about which he or she is writing; *a chapter on creativity in psychology which examines patterns of performance leading to creative eminence in different areas of psychology; and *a final chapter proposing a new theory of ! creativity--the Amusement Park Theoretical Model. This book appeals to creativity researchers and students of creativity; cognitive, education, social, and developmental psychologists; and educated laypeople interested in exploring their own creativity.

Picture a scientist who has creative insights about the human body, or a businessperson with a creative way of running a company, or a writer with a creative idea for a novel. Are they more similar or different? What are the particular features that distinguish them? The question of whether creativity is a general ability or whether it is domain specific is an important one that has yet to be resolved in creativity research. In the only point-counterpoint, debate-style pair of articles in its history, 5 years ago the Creativity ResearchJournal asked two leading proponents of these competing positions to square off and argue the cases for domain specificity and generality (Baer, 1998; Plucker, 1998). Differences of opinion remain, and evidence continues to be gathered and debated. Yet, whether or not general creative thinking abilities exist, there is no doubt that domain-specific abilities exist—and that such abilities matter very much in creative performance in diverse domains. Even those who argue for the existence of domain-general creative thinking skills recognize that domain-specific thinking skills also play an important role in creative thinking (e.g., Amabile, 1996; Anderson, Reder, & Simon, 1996; Conti, Coon, & Amabile, 1996).

The field of creativity is a natural one in which to explore issues of content and domain specificity. Although one can think of creativity as a construct in abstract, domain-transcending ways, all creative products come into being in some domain or field of endeavor (and they are ultimately judged by the current standards of the relevant field or domain). Creativity also has a much wider purview than it once did; no longer confined to just a few areas in the arts and sciences, creativity is now considered important in performances and products of all kinds. Indeed, interest in creativity has never been greater, with a special division within the American Psychological Association devoted to the empirical study of the arts, four different journals centered around the study of creativity, and several major annual awards given out to outstanding creativity researchers.
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