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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: April 2019

6 - Evolutionary Approaches to Creativity

from Biological Underpinnings


This chapter explores evolutionary approaches to creativity. The process of biological evolution has a close relation with manifestations of human creativity, since both generate novelty within contexts of high complexity. After some general considerations about evolution, I describe the phylogenetic history of our hominin ancestors, focusing on the archaeological evidence of stone tool use and other early manifestations of creativity. I then discuss evolutionary mechanisms that may have given rise to our species’ creative capacity, including natural and sexual selection, as well as evolutionary metaphors that have influenced contemporary psychological theories of creativity and cultural evolution. I end by considering the value of an evolutionary approach to creativity, in terms of potential research directions and a richer understanding of creativity more broadly.
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