Liane Gabora, Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of British Columbia

 

Liane Gabora, Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of British Columbia

Sage 4101

May 3, 2017 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

How do we come up with new ideas? It is widely believed that creative thought involves haphazardly generating a set of distinct, predefined candidate ideas, and selecting amongst them. I will introduce a theory of creativity, honing theory, according to which creativity need not involve multiple distinct candidate ideas, nor selection. According to this theory, (1) Creative individuals wrestle with issues or ideas that are ill-formed, or in a state of potentiality, which take shape by considering them from different perspectives or contexts, (2) Intuition has a scientific explanation, and (3) Creative outputs are the external manifestation of the process by which an individual’s internal model of the world, or worldview, self-organizes into a more stable structure. Just as a body heals itself when wounded, elements of a body of knowledge modify each other to solve problems, reduce dissonance, or accommodate unexpected events. Most thoughts have little effect on the worldview, but occasionally one thought triggers another, which triggers an avalanche of conceptual change resulting in insight. I will summarize converging evidence for honing theory from neuroscience, studies of analogy formation and creative style, and an agent-based model of the emergence of cultural evolution through creative transformation and social interaction, and computational models of art and music.

Download a paper here and here. 

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