Lay Theories of Creativity

Simone Ritter, Eric Rietzschel

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic

17 Citations (Scopus)
49 Downloads (Pure)


Creativity is of great appeal and importance to people, and they strive to understand creativity by developing lay theories. Such lay theories about creativity concern, for example, the characteristics of creative persons, such as the ‘mad genius’ idea, or environmental factors that contribute to creative performance, such as ‘group brainstorming’. Many lay theories about creativity are completely false, and some are only partly correct. Given the importance of creativity for all domains of life, including diverse endeavours such as science, art, technology, design, sports, and medicine, we cannot afford to let lay theories guide our creative efforts without empirical scrutiny. In the current chapter we therefore describe lay beliefs related to characteristics of the creative person, the skills and processes that are needed to achieve creativity, environments that supposedly stimulate or hinder creativity, and the properties of creative output and behavior, and critically appraise these beliefs in light of what creativity research has shown.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Science of Lay Theories
Subtitle of host publicationHow Beliefs Shape our Cognition, Behavior, and Health
EditorsClaire Zedelius, Barbara Müller, Jonathan Schooler
Place of PublicationCham
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-57306-9
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-57305-2
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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