The Plasticity of Natural Concepts and Creativity

  • Jerzy Trzebiński
  • Agnieszka Wołowicz
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Creativity and Culture book series (PASCC)


When thinking, we use very often natural concepts – the building blocks of our common-sense knowledge. Consequently, creativity may depend on the characteristics of a person’s natural concepts. Natural concepts are composed from a representation of a “prototype” exemplar and a space of accepted dissimilarities from it, and they have no clear boundaries. They enable people to differentiate objects according to the degree of their “typicality” and to reject or include them – automatically or deliberatively – as exemplars of a given concept. Natural concepts differ in their plasticity, that is – in the amount of accepted dissimilarities from the prototypic characteristics. It may be assumed that higher plasticity within a given life domain facilitates creative thinking in this domain. In several studies we have reinforced experimentally the plasticity of concepts within a given domain and compared the effects with placebo. The results show the facilitating role of induced concepts’ plasticity in different aspects of creative thinking and in openness to novel experiences. In the chapter, we will present the theory and data as well as practical conclusions related to education and therapeutic work, key contexts of social creativity.


Natural concepts Plasticity Social cognition Social background of creativity Creativity training 


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jerzy Trzebiński
    • 1
  • Agnieszka Wołowicz
    • 2
  1. 1.SWPS University of Social Sciences and HumanitiesWarsawPoland
  2. 2.Faculty of EducationWarsaw UniversityWarsawPoland

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