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Creativity appears to be an important part of cognitive capacities and problem solving. Creativity is one’s ability to generate ideas that are novel, surprising, and compelling (Kaufman and Sternberg, 2010). This chapter will focus on the creative-cognitive approach, which seeks to further understand how human minds produce creative ideas.
Creativity involves the generation of ideas that are novel, surprising, and compelling (Kaufman and Sternberg, 2010, 2019). Creative people are not only intellectually capable of coming up with such ideas; they are also people who have a creative attitude toward life (Sternberg, 2017) and approach problems insightfully (Davidson and Sternberg, 2003). They also are motivated to solve problems in a creative way (Dai and Sternberg, 2004; Hennessey, 2019). Although average levels of creativity may vary from one time or place to another (e.g., Niu and Sternberg, 2003; Baas, 2019; Ivcevic and Hoffmann, 2019; Lubart, Glăveanu et al., 2019), a major variable in creativity is simply a mindset toward thinking in novel, surprising, and compelling ways – and this mindset can be taught.
This textbook is a systematic and straightforward introduction to the interdisciplinary study of creativity. Each chapter is written by one or more of the world's experts and features the latest research developments, alongside foundational knowledge. Each chapter also includes an introduction, key terms, and critical thought questions to promote active learning. Topics and authors have been selected to represent a comprehensive and balanced overview. Any reader will come away with a deeper understanding of how creativity is studied – and how they can improve their own creativity.
During the twentieth century, IQs rose thirty points around the world (the so-called “Flynn effect”). These increases led to many positive consequences, such as more efficient burning of fossil fuels and development and use of ever more sophisticated cell phones. But the same habits that have brought many short-term benefits have proven to be powerfully destructive in the long term, as fossil-fuel use compounds global climate change and social media are used on cell phones to spread disinformation and hate-filled propaganda. People’s increasing so-called “general intelligence” seems to have been useless in leading them to guard adequately against the long-term destructive consequences of their behavior aimed at maximizing their short-term gains. They have compromised not only their own lives, but those of their children and grandchildren. Apparently, even genetic ties to future generations are not enough to prevent people from using their general intelligence to engage in species-destructive behavior, such that, ironically, their high levels of IQ may profit them in the short term but ultimately will destroy humanity and the species it takes down with it.
Current societally-entrenched conceptions of intelligence, like hand-shaking, are hard for society to give up. Whole educational systems are based on the use of tests, like the SAT, ACT, PISA, and statewide and local mastery tests, that are highly correlated with and largely proxies for conventional tests of intelligence. But these tests are proving to be as adaptive today as is hand-shaking. People are just slower to realize the full destructive power of the tests based on these conceptions of intelligence.
This book is about how adaptive intelligence needs to replace general intelligence as the construct on which our society focuses, much as our society needs to replace hand-shaking with more currently adaptive modes of greeting. The book describes what adaptive intelligence is; why it needs to replace, or at the very least, supplement current notions of general intelligence; why general intelligence has led to such world-destructive outcomes; how adaptive intelligence can be measured; how adaptive intelligence can be taught for; and how adaptive intelligence applies to the real-world problems of today.
I propose in this book that society and the scholars it supports need to return to the original definition of intelligence as “adaptation to the environment.” Intelligence as adaptation is not, and really never has been about people’s ability to solve trivial, artificial, largely meaningless multiple-choice or short-answer problems on tests designed to measure their intelligence, aptitudes, abilities, school knowledge and skills, or other such constructs. Rather, intelligence as adaptation is about people’s ability to act in ways that help to attain a collective or common good – ways that make the world a better, not a worse place. Many societies’ narrow-minded and compulsive focus on individual achievements, even those attained at the expense of the common good, has resulted in a seriously warped view of intelligence as something of a zero-sum game, where people compete with each other for higher test scores and the resulting outcomes that benefit some at others’ expense. We instead need to think collectively so as to preserve not only our own future, but that of the world as we know it and would want to know it in the future.
Some old, societally-entrenched habits, like hand-shaking, are hard to break. Yet a time may come when they become maladaptive and possibly even deadly. Today, hand-shaking is no longer adaptive: It can lead to the transmission of COVID-19, a serious and possibly fatal disease. Of course, it can lead to transmission of other diseases as well.
Two-thirds of smokers will die early from smoking-related illness. Tobacco smoke has been linked to at least thirteen different types of cancers. Smoking a half-pack a day doubles one’s risk of death and smoking a pack a day quadruples it. Two-thirds of smokers will die of smoking-related causes. A close relative of mine, anytime she sees someone smoking, does not hesitate to point out how stupid they are. Really, how could anyone be stupid enough to engage in behavior that is more likely than not to kill them, probably in what will prove to be a slow and painful death? Although fewer and fewer people smoke, at least in the United States, one in five deaths is smoking-related.