Creativity Versus Intelligence: Critical Analysis

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Since a long time, intelligence and creativity have been seen as two separate abilities and creativity has been an ignored subject in psychological research. But in life, creativity is been valued more than intelligence as it comprises individuals adapting to novel situations that would lead to either result in success or failure. According to Plato, a writer is barely able to produce a work that the muse directs and similarly these days the writers mention that there is a presence of a spiritual force or nature that switches their perception to revealing the unknown, which helps in making their work creative. Subsequently, after a period of time many people found interest in this subject, due to which numerous numbers of theories were created and many lines of work on mental science revealed that the two concepts are related. But individuals were confused whether one needs to be intelligent to be creative. This essay will help understand and present few opinions on this subject.

Intelligence is defined as ‘The complete capacity of the individual to act purposefully, to think rationally and to adjust or deal with one’s environment successfully’ (Weschler, 1944) or in other words it signifies to one’s ability to understand complex ideas, to reflect from past experiences, engage in various structures of reasoning and pass-through various hindrances of thinking deliberately. Whereas the capability of an individual to create adaptive notions, that are new, practical and functional is known as creativity. Therefore, creativity helps us to adjust to novel situations and resolve issues that arise unexpectedly (Simonton, 2001). As, the meanings of these two concepts are different so are the methodologies to assess them, to test intelligence, Intelligence Quotient (IQ) and aptitude has to be assessed, whereas to measure creativity, creativity tests are been used.

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Research by Cox and Terman (1926) proposed that although there is a correlation between the two concepts, it is a moderate one. This means that creative people are intelligent, but highly intelligent need not be creative, this is because of the methodology used to consider and measure intelligence. In a study, they assessed the Intelligence Quotient (IQ) of 301 people from 1450 and 1850. This study was highly criticized as there was no information collected other than from the letters, records and other writings for the need of subjectiveness for estimating the IQs. The results revealed, above average intelligence (IQ 110-119) combined with great persistence can result in better performance than superior intelligence (IQ more than 130). It is believed that creativity helps individuals solve a problem, but when a similar problem occurs again in life, intelligence plays a role in solving it. Hence, the level of intelligence is important in solving a problem creatively.

Genzel’s and Jackson (1962) were the former psychologists to demonstrate, intelligence and creativity are two unrelated concepts. They carried out a study on school children ranging from the sixth grade to twelfth grade. They were instructed that they would be participating in certain tests that will test their mental functioning and creativity. The outcome of this study discovered a nonsignificant link among the scores. Although, Wallach and Kogan (1965) studied the results and confirmed, creativity and intelligence share a foundation, as the technique adopted were the same as the ones used for testing the IQ. The methods used to conduct these tests and the indication towards the subjects is important conclude if there was a relation between intelligence and creativity.

Researchers have recognised methods to assess intelligence and creativity. They categorised intelligence tests into aptitude, that predicts one’s capability to find out new information (Stanford-Binet test, differential aptitude test and other mastery tests) and achievement tests- to examine the knowledge obtained (Myers, 2015). Researchers also affirmed that creativity is an extension of intelligence because they consist of identical mental processes.

A study conducted by Norbert Jaušovec (2000) investigated the process of cognition and its relationship with intelligence and creativity and its differences. The sample used were forty-nine university students and tutors of a psychology course, who were divided into groups of four (gifted- high IQ and high creativity; creative- high creativity and average IQ; intelligent- high IQ and average creativity; average IQ and average creativity) and the Weschler adult intelligence scale (WAIS) and creativity tests (Torrance’s creativity test and Mednick and Mednick remote association test) were instructed to attempt. The subjects were then instructed to solve two complex issues that were closed- ended and open- ended problem, then instructed to solve four creativity problems that were identical to the usual creativity tests and relating to everyday lives. In the end after each task, participants electroencephalogram brain activity was verified and calculated. The results showed that, very intelligent individuals displayed lesser mental action and greater connection were established betwixt the different regions of the cerebellum, than individuals with average intelligence. In the second task, individuals with high- creativity showed better relation, than ones with more intelligence. The study confirms that intelligence and creativity are 2 different concepts, and their abilities are different while resolving open- ended and close-ended problems. Results confirm that creativity helps solve closed- ended problems and intelligence to solve open- ended.

Guilford (1967) developed a theory known as the threshold theory, that presumed that for an individual to be highly creative, he needs to have above average intelligence. Which was examined by dividing the chosen sample into a threshold, (e.g., 120 IQ) for finding the association between lowest and highest IQ range (Sternberg, 2003). This method is been criticized as there was no specific reason to set a threshold at a particular score. A study was carried out (jauk, 2013) to resolve this issue and find the connection between intelligence and creativity potential (finding things novel and useful) and accomplishment (realization of capability in life). The sample for the study were 297 students. It was conducted with the help of segmented regression analysis and solving algorithms. The sample were made to complete four sets of intelligence tests (intelligence structural battery) and other tests to evaluate creative accomplishment and potential. The outcome stated threshold for creative potential but not creative achievement, it also specified that though intelligence and creativity are linked, they have no influence over one another. The limitation for these studies were the scale of sample and its variations in participants intelligence scores.

Nusbaum and Silvia (2011) studied intelligence to support the present assumptions incorrect, about the two concepts being unrelated to the measurement of creativity. In this study, the sample were 178 females and 48 male university students. Initially, different tasks were conducted to assess divergent thinking and changes in ideas. Consequently, some participants were been told or given an idea earlier, about the strategy to be used in an alternative uses test, which was then directed to all. When observed, participants did well with fluid thinking when they were aware of the strategy and which let them use it without any interference, but individuals with lower fluid thinking, the strategy did not work. In the end, when results of the two stages were been combined, the researchers signified that creativity is associated well to intelligence than other theories.

Many studies and theories have varied views on the relationship between intelligence and creativity and some are yet to be discovered as no appropriate evidence has been found. Few theories and studies point out that not all individuals who are creative are intelligent, but intelligent can be creative and some oppose it. The IQ levels of an individual plays a role in determining creativity, therefore any variances in the IQ would tend to affect creativity. An issue that most individuals and researchers find in this study is finding a relevant definition of creativity. To summarize the relation between intelligence and creativity is highly appropriate.

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Creativity Versus Intelligence: Critical Analysis. (2022, December 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 24, 2024, from
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