Is ‘creativity’ genetically determined or can it be learnt?

There has been much debate about whether or not creativity is learnt or inherited. This has been researched from many viewpoints including both sociological and medical.

Recent studies (2013) at the University of Queensland, Australia, conducted by Social Psychologists, suggest that researchers have previously focused on the intelligence and motivation of specifically ‘talented’ individuals, measured against societal ‘norms’, to set the gauge for what is, or is not, considered ‘creative’. Social Psychologists also suggest that individual and group creativity can be influenced by the environment and social context that people are exposed to. This indicates that our previous notions of how we measure creative ability may be skewed in favour of a narrow group of individuals and have not taken into account environmental factors. Hence, they might be seriously deficient.

Scientists at the University of Helsinki claim to have discovered a unique ‘cluster of music genes’ within DNA, while scientists at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden suggest there is a genetic link that gives some people the ability to be more ‘creative’ than others. We shall have to wait and see whether such research yields further understanding of the link between genetic make-up and creative ability.

We conclude, for the present, that there are no firm answers to understanding the complexity of determining intelligence and creativity in human beings. It is too easy to assume creativity is very specific to each individual: either you are born with it, or you are not.

All we can do is encourage what we perceive as creativity in children. We can observe – often with deep fascination – how creative children can be at making up new games, negotiating the rules of those games, making up and writing stories, drawing pictures, as well as dressing up and acting out various character roles. If we, as adults, look back at our own childhood, we can still remember those games, stories, drawings and role-plays we created ourselves. We should take every opportunity to enrich children’s experience with learning opportunities. Sociologists are at least correct in establishing the link between the environment a child is exposed to and their resultant development.

AE Tuition believes that books are an essential part of that enrichment. For this reason, we provide a series of Creative Writing workbooks that can help a child develop and hone their creative writing skills.

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