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Psychology, Psychologists, and the Creativity Movement: The Lives of Method Inside and Outside the Cold War

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Cold War Social Science

Abstract

“The neglect of this subject by psychologists is appalling.”1 So said psychologist Joy Paul Guilford in his 1950 presidential address to the American Psychological Association (APA). The subject was creativity, and the neglect did not last for long. Before the decade was out, another onetime APA President, Henry Murray, called the post-Guilford burst of research into creativity an “evolution of the human spirit.”2 Participants of a 1959 conference on creativity suggested that the “Creativity Quotient” had dislodged the “Intelligence Quotient” as the parameter of choice for psychologists in the field of mental testing.3 And a 1975 collection on creativity research looked back to Guilford’s 1950 address as marking a “paradigm shift” in psychology.4 Pronouncements such as these hint at the importance of the self-styled “creativity movement” whose structure, motivations, and methods are the subject of this chapter.

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Notes

  1. Joy Paul Guilford, “Creativity,” American Psychologist 5 (1950): 444–454, on 445.

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  2. Henry Murray, “Vicissitudes of creativity,” in Creativity and its Cultivation: Addresses Presented at the Interdisciplinary Symposia on Creativity, ed. Harold H. Anderson (Harper: New York, 1959), 40–67, on 43.

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  3. Calvin W. Taylor ed., Proceedings of the Third (1959) University of Utah Research Conference on the Identification of Scientific Talent (Wiley: New York, 1959), 282–286.

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  4. Irving A. Taylor and J. W. Getzels eds., Perspectives in Creativity (Chicago: Aldine Pub. Co., 1975), 1.

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  5. On the creativity movement and teaching machines see especially Sidney J. Parnes, Programming Creative Behavior: Pinal Report, Office of Education, U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Title VII, Project No. 5-0716 (State University of New York at Buffalo, 1966).

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  6. Henry W. Reiken, “National resources for the social sciences,” in Symposium Proceedings: The U.S. Army’s Limited-War Mission and Social Science Research: 26–28 March 1962, ed. William A. Lybrand (Washington, D.C.: Special Operations Research Office, 1962), cited in

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  7. Ellen Herman, The Romance of American Psychology: Political Culture in the Age of Experts, 1940–1970 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995), 128–129.

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  8. Jamie Cohen-Cole, “The creative American: Cold War salons, social science, and the cure for modern society,” Isis 100 (2009): 219–262.

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  9. See Sidney Parnes ed., Handbook on Creativity (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1962), 205, for a summary of the bibliographic projects underway by 1960.

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  10. Barron, Creative Person and Creative Process (Oxford: Holt, Rinehart, & Winston, 1969), 3.

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  11. See E. Paul Torrance, “Creativity and education,” Creativity: Progress and Potential, ed. Calvin W. Taylor (McGraw-Hill: New York, 1964), 57–60, for a summary of creativity meetings relating to education.

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  12. J. K. Feibleman, “Review of ‘Scientific Creativity: Its Recognition and Development,’ eds. Calvin W. Taylor and Frank Barron,” Journal of Higher Education, 34 (1963): 413–414, on 413.

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  13. Summaries from within the movement include Taylor and Williams, “History and Acknowledgments,” in Instructional Media and Creativity, in eds. Calvin W. Taylor and Frank E. Williams (Wiley: New York, 1966), xi–xviii; and

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  14. Taylor and Barron, “Preface,” in Scientific Creativity: Its Recognition and Development, eds. Taylor and Barron (Wiley: New York, 1963), xii–xix. Summaries from outside the movement include Murray, “Vicissitudes of creativity,” 96; and

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  15. John Gardner, Self-Renewal: The Individual and the Innovative Society (New York: Harper and Row, 1964), 132.

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  16. Calvin W. Taylor, “Preface,” in Taylor, Widening Horizons in Creativity (New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1964), ix–xvi, on ix.

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  17. Some historians have questioned whether the so-called cognitive revolution was as rapid or unprecedented as others have made it out to be. Examples are T. H. Leahey, in “The mythical revolutions of American psychology,” American Psychologist, 47 (1992): 308–318; and

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  18. G. Mandler, in “Origins of the Cognitive Revolution,” Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, 38 (2002): 339–353. However, these authors do not doubt that the 1950s and 1960s saw a growing interest among psychologists in the study of thought processes in their own right.

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  19. Examples of anti-behaviorist sentiments within the creativity movement include Guilford, “Basic problems in teaching for creativity,” in Instructional Media and Creativity, Taylor and Williams eds., 71–103, on 71; Donald MacKinnon, “The nature and nurture of creative talent,” American Psychologist, 17 (1962): 186; and Salvador Maddi, “The strenuousness of the creative life,” in Creativity and its Cultivation, ed. Anderson, 173–190, on 174.

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  20. For examples of these three approaches see respectively Frank Barron, “The Needs for Order and Disorder as Motives in Creative Activity,” in Scientific Creativity: Its Recognition and Development, Taylor and Barron eds., 153–160; Brewster Ghiselin, Roger Rompel, and Calvin W. Taylor, “A Creative process list: Its development and validation,” in Creativity: Progress and Potential, Taylor ed., 19–33; and Guilford, “The Structure of Intellect,” Psychological Bulletin 53 (1956): 267–293.

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  21. “Tolerance of ambiguity” or “tolerance of complexity” appear as traits of the creative person in Taylor ed., Proceedings of the First (1955) Utah Conference on the Identification of Creative Scientific Talent (Wiley: New York, 1956), 230, 238; and Taylor and Barron eds., Scientific Creativity: Its Recognition and Development, 386.

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  22. MacKinnon, “This week’s citation classic,” Current Contents 52 (1981): 181; Barron, Creative Person and Creative Process, vii–viii.

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  23. The OSS Assessment Staff, Assessment of Men: Selection of Personnel for the Office of Strategic Services (New York: Rinehart and Company, 1948), 33.

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  24. Thurstone, L. L., “Multi factor analysis,” Psychological Review 38 (1931): 406–427.

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  25. Guilford, Joy Paul, Psychometric Methods, 1st ed. (New York, McGraw-Hill, 1936).

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  26. For a contemporary view of Guilford’s role in the psychometric tradition, see David Krech and Richard S. Crutchfield, Elements of Psychology (New York: Knopf, 1969), 512; for a recent historian’s account, see

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  27. Ernest R. Hilgard, Psychology in America: A Historical Survey (Orlando: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1987), 474–478; for the view from a present-day psychologist, see

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  28. David Lubinski, “Ability tests,” in Handbook of Multimethod Measurement in Psychology, Michael Eid and Ed Diener eds. (Washington: APA, 2006), 101–114, on 101–2; and for Guilford’s own positioning of his work see his Psychometric Methods, 7.

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Mark Solovey Hamilton Cravens

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© 2012 Mark Solovey and Hamilton Cravens

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Bycroft, M. (2012). Psychology, Psychologists, and the Creativity Movement: The Lives of Method Inside and Outside the Cold War. In: Solovey, M., Cravens, H. (eds) Cold War Social Science. Palgrave Macmillan, New York. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137013224_11

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137013224_11

  • Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, New York

  • Print ISBN: 978-1-349-34314-0

  • Online ISBN: 978-1-137-01322-4

  • eBook Packages: Palgrave History CollectionHistory (R0)

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