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05/01 Guest Creativity Comment
 
There's No Valid Creativity Test
 
by Ed Martin, Evaluation Systems, Inc. (BMartin@EvaluationSystems.com)

Why aren’t the many “tests” for one’s creative abilities actually meaningful?  It is intuitively obvious that ideas are not generated or developed in the logical, conscious thought process.  Ninety-five percent of or our brain is not used in logical, conscious thinking. However, all of our brain and its associated resources are constantly in use.  The unconscious/preconscious/nonconscious thought processes occupy 95% of our brain's capacity. For example, while you drive home from work, your mind monitors environmental conditions, watches traffic, considers problems of the day or coming evening and yet, interrupts the conscious thought process to inform the conscious thinking of a new construction being started somewhere in route or, even more amazing, notices an old tire hung from a rope and conjures up a memory from 30 years earlier.

These non-logical thought processes are the machines that generate ideas. The conscious, logical brain collects data concerning a problem and then the non-logical part of our thinking capacity begins to process the data into patterns. It uses these patterns to search our knowledge base for a similar situation, perhaps an event in an unrelated discipline with similar attributes. It then applies the solution to the current problem and produces, for the conscious mind, an idea. The key to all of this is being able to take the data collected by the conscious mind and develop the appropriate patterns to use in the search. The ability to determine an individual’s capacity to develop appropriate patterns from data about a problem hasn't been developed at this time. 

Therefore, it doesn’t seem at all surprising that none of the great ideas referred to in the 0401 Creativity Comment arose through someone’s claimed “creativity-enhancing method.”  How can proponents of such tests measure creative abilities?

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