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Domain Specificity of Creativity

By: , Posted on: November 23, 2015

Baer Creativity Blog 2

Is creativity a general skill that transcends domains, or is it more like expertise, which is very domain specific?

No one assumes that an expert in Chinese history will also be an expert in statistics, cosmology, or atonal music.  Is there reason to assume that someone who is creative in painting will also be creative in math, debating, or dance?

Expertise varies by domain: There is no domain-transcending skill of expertise that one can simply transport and apply in whatever field might interest us at the moment.  Might that be equally true of creativity?

Chapter 1 of my new book, Domain Specificity of Creativity, introduces the issue of domain specificity and argues that although people generally think of creativity in a domain-general way, our intuitions, when guided by the right questions, actually suggest a much more domain-specific view.

The goal of this chapter is not to convince the reader that domain specificity is the correct theory but simply to introduce the controversy, break down some seemingly commonsensical (but incorrect) biases in the ways we tend to think about creativity, and introduce the kinds of tools needed to make reasonable judgments about how domain specific creativity really is.

Chapter 1’s introduction prepares the groundwork for the more in-depth explorations that make up the rest of the book.  Why not read it (for free) to see if this book might interest you?

Download (PDF, 716KB)

john baerDr. John Baer is a Professor of Educational Psychology at Rider University. He earned his B.A. from Yale University (double major, psychology and Japanese Studies, magna cum laude) and his Ph.D. in cognitive and developmental psychology from Rutgers University. His research on the development of creativity and his teaching have both won national awards, including the American Psychological Association’s Berlyne Prize and the National Conference on College Teaching and Learning’s Award for Innovative Excellence.

Domain Specificity of Creativity brings readers a review of the research that speaks to whether creativity is something general like intelligence that can be applied across domains or whether it is a domain specific skill.

domain specificity of creativity

Want your personal copy of Domain Specificity of CreativityOrder online via the Elsevier Store and receive 30% off the list price and free worldwide shipping. Simply apply discount code STC215 at checkout.

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  • The first premise is not entirely true. When we learn something we can carry it over into other areas, maybe not the specifics, but the things we learn in more general ways do help us to get to an understanding that we might not have had without the previous experience of another subject.

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