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  • Print publication year: 2016
  • Online publication date: February 2016

17 - Individual Differences in Intelligence, Personality, and Creativity



There is an extensive psychological literature on the three variables (Creativity. Intelligence, and Personality) that are the topic of this chapter. Although once all thought of as part of differential psychology, researchers in these different areas seem to have gone their own ways, as observed in the academic journals. Of the three, probably the most popular (as measured by the number of academic journals) is personality, followed by creativity and finally intelligence. This chapter examines the relationship among these three pillars of differential psychology.

There are probably many more researchers looking at personality traits (and disorders) than either creativity or intelligence (Furnham, 2008). The relative neglect of these two topics has occurred for many different reasons though two are probably most common. Ferocious debates about group differences in intelligence made this a very hot topic of research which attracted much controversy but little funding. Hence, for long periods (from around 1975-today) the area had only one major journal (Intelligence) though this situation has changed. The most difficult problem for creativity researchers, unlike researchers in intelligence is the problem of how to assess and measure creativity (Kaufman & Baer, 2012). There remains, for any researcher interested in the area, still great debate how to effectively and validly measure creativity, which is the start of good research in the area.

With the end of the pointless and sterile personality x situation debate of the 1970s and 1980s, together with a general acceptance of the Five Factor Model, there has been a great resurgence of interest and research in personality research and measurement (Furnham, 2008).

This chapter is concerned mainly with the overlap among these three topics.

The Two Disciplines of Differential Psychology

Two presidents of the American Psychological Association (John Dashiell, 1938; Lee Cronbach, 1957) pointed out in their state-of-the-art addresses that there seemed, in psychology, a great division between experimental psychology, which sought to discover universal laws of human behaviour, and correlational psychology, which sought to describe and explain individual differences (Cronbach, 1957).

Experimental psychologists seem embarrassed and annoyed by individual differences, which they often treat as error variances (Furnham, 2008). Yet, this variability is the very essence of correlational or differential psychology.

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