This is an interesting piece. Some years ago I did some reading on IQ, occupation, and creativity. It seems clear that we are more likely to notice creativity in high status occupations. We can all name creative attorneys, but how many creative bus drivers can you name? Yet, I don’t doubt that bus drivers may make creative contributions. It is just that they would have lower visibility.
I’m beginning to think that creativity research is elitist.
Exhibit A: The most prominent historical studies of creativity focus on high-status individuals: top art schools, Nobel-prize winning scientists; corporate CEOs. Howard Gardner’s book on creativity studied Freud, Einstein, Picasso, Stravinsky, Eliot, Graham, and Ghandi.
Exhibit B: Simon Kyaga’s highly publicized studies (2011, 2012) about creativity and mental illness defined creative people from an elitist perspective: anyone from one of these occupations: university teachers, visual artists, photographers, designers, display artists, performing artists, composers and musicians, and authors.
We’ve failed to study some of the most creative people, and I think it’s because they don’t have high social status. Four times, I’m going to name a creative profession that’s associated with the elite and that’s also studied by creativity researchers. Then, I’ll compare it to an even more creative profession that creativity researchers have never studied. I think we haven’t studied them because they’re…
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