Creativity Across Cultures
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Creativity Across Cultures



A class presentation for ADV 6383 - Creativity as Problem Solving by graduate students Jingya Huang, Danielle Latta and Katie McCarney at SMU's Temerlin Advertising Institute.

A class presentation for ADV 6383 - Creativity as Problem Solving by graduate students Jingya Huang, Danielle Latta and Katie McCarney at SMU's Temerlin Advertising Institute.



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  • Jingya
  • Books:Defying the crowd: Cultivating Creativity in a Culture of Conformity (NY: Free Press, 1995)Psychologie de la Créativité (The Psychology of Creativity, Paris: Colin, 2003)EnfantsExceptionnel (Exceptional Children, Bréal, 2006).
  • JingyaKrippner and Arons (1973): similar to humanistic psychology’s conception of creativity as part of self-actualization
  • Katie
  • KatieIncongruence between Torrance conception of creativity and that of cultures studied;Measures originality but not appropriatenessTechnical issuesFluidity: number of ideas; Flexibility: diversity of ideas; Originality: rarity of ideas
  • KatieReflecting the Eastern view in that it shows the collectivism more so than the circular nature of creativity.
  • Danielle
  • DanielleEastern: Maduro’s study: Preparatory: : prays for inspiration from Vishvakarma; Internal identification: artist becomes the deity; Insight: more personal than product oriented; Social communication of social realizations
  • DanielleUsually takes place within the factory premises or shop floor, and the otherwise mundane workshops come alive with fiesta
  • Jingya
  • Jingya
  • JingyaCulture encourages creativity in some situations, but discourages it for others3rd bullet: Example: Samoan dance: Creativity in Samoan dance is rewarded on the surface level – the dancer does not compose new steps, for there are no fundamental structural changes.
  • JingyaHere’s an example of an intended advertisement designed by a Japanese paint company to target the Chinese market. The ad was never run, however, due to outrage expressed by the Chinese audience when the ad was previewed in a trade publication. The ad was designed for outdoor paint, and the dragon was positioned at the bottom as if to illustrate the smooth and durable texture of the paint. However, the use of a dragon was offensive to the Chinese because this symbol is regarded as culturally sacred for it is the predecessor of the Chinese nation. This illustrates how culture serves as a channel for creativity, restricting use of certain culturally important elements.
  • JingyaSimilar to the previous example, the Japanese company Toyota designed this ad for its Prado vehicle to target Chinese consumers. This ad was offensive to Chinese consumers because the stone lion on the right is bending down to the Japanese vehicle, which the Chinese interpreted as symbolizing Japanese culture representing itself as superior to China. Given the tumultuous history between the two countries, this ad was perceived as especially disrespectful.
  • KatieSeveral examples of musical creativity illustrate how cultures can restrict creativity based on social structure.Omaha Indian: New melodies can be introduced by elite males only, who are part of a medicine society and conceive songs on vision quests. Thus, creativity in music is only allowed for a certain social group.Bali: Innovation in musical composition is seen as a group endeavor. This type of channeling effect on creativity may derive from a culture’s position on an individualism-collectivism dimensionThe Kaluli of Papua New Guinea illustrate another way that musical creativity depends on social structure – based on gender. Men and women can both be creative but in different musical genres. It is more acceptable for women to sing songs that express the personal emotions, while men sing songs that provoke a collective emotional response.
  • DanielleRelated to the effects of culture on creativity is the channeling influence of language on creativity. Whorf proposed that language shapes thought. Language structures categories and expresses a culture’s understanding of the world. Language, as a vehicle of culture, can therefore be expected to shape creativity.A recent review of 24 studies concluded that a majority of the studies show a positive link between bilingualism and creativity. Important to note that this creativity advantage for bilinguals was not found in all studies reviewed and did not occur consistently on the diverse creativity tasks. Ricciardelli proposed that there may be a threshold of bilingual proficiency that must be passed before an advantage for creativity will occur.There are several possible reasons for a bilingual advantage: (1) bilinguals may have a more flexible approach to the world due to a dual linguistic perspective. This flexibility may derive, in part, from a greater metalinguistic awareness of arbitrary, nonphysical aspects of words and the effect of context on the meaning of words. (2) Bilinguals may have a greater diversity of associations to the same concept because it is situated in two different linguistic conceptual networks. (3) Bilinguals may have a greater tolerance for ambiguity because they are comfortable with situations in which one basic idea may have different nuances depending on the linguistic community. (4) The living conditions of bilinguals: they often participate in activities of two cultural groups, as opposed to monolinguals, who have activities focused essentially on one cultural group.Left-handedness wasn’t necessarily indicative of creativity, but rather the adaptability of left-handers to a right-handed world…
  • DanielleCollectivist vs.Individualistcultures“Individualism pertains to societies in which the ties between individuals are loose: Everyone is expected to look after himself or herself and his or her immediate family. Collectivism, as its opposite, pertains to societies in which people from birth onward are integrated into strong, cohesive in-groups, which throughout people’s lifetimes continue to protect them in exchange for unquestioning loyalty,” (Hofstede 1991 in Runcop. 264)Beliefs and ValuesWestern cultures value: Individualism, independence, Self-reliance. Reflected in a work ethic of accomplishment and achievement, with an emphasis on the end product as a measure of creativity. Eastern cultures value: Obedience, Cooperation, Duty and Acceptance of In-group Authority. Reflected in creative perception that focuses on the realizations that take place during the creative processExtent to which a culture values conformity and traditionIn Eastern view, creativity usually involves the reinterpretation of a traditional idea, finding a new point of view. The Western approach usually involves a complete departure from tradition. (Sternberg p. 340)Other influential characteristics that vary from culture to culturePermisivenessPerseveranceTolerance of AmbiguityRisk taking “A given culture, may contain some elements that foster creativity and others that stifle it, yielding an overall influence that may be positive, negative, or neutral. Also, cultural features may not operate to the same extent in all domains of endeavor,” (Sternberg p.346)

Creativity Across Cultures Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Creativity across cultures Todd I. Lubart
    Jingya Huang, Danielle Latta, Katie McCarney
  • 2. Topics To Be Covered
    Creativity Across Cultures
    Todd I. Lubart
    Defining Culture
    Conceptions of Creativity
    Cultural Variation in Creative Process
    Culture as a Channel for Creativity
    Forms and Domains of Creativity
    Social Structure and Creativity
    Culture, Language, and Creativity
    Nurturance of Creativity
    Discussion Questions
  • 3. Todd I. Lubart
    Professor of Psychology at the Université Paris Descartes, and Member of the Institut Universiatire de France.
    Ph.D. from Yale University and was an invited professor at the Paris School of Management (ESCP).
    His research focuses on creativity, its identification and development in children and adults, the role of emotions, the creative process and intercultural issues.
    Co-founder of the International Centre for Innovation in Education (ICIE), and the Associate Editor of Gifted and Talented International.
    Source: (
  • 4. What is Culture?
  • 5. The Definition of Culture
    “A shared system of cognitions, behaviors, customs, values, rules, and symbols concerning the manner in which a set of people interact with their social and physical environment,”
    (Sternberg 339).
    Characteristics of culture:
    learned and socially transmitted from generation to generation
    identified at the societal level, following geographic boundaries
    can be further categorized to subcultures within it
    dynamic and change over time.
  • 6. Conceptions of Creativity
  • 7. Cultural Definitions of Creativity
    Novel and appropriate
    “…its relationship to an observable product (Hughes & Drew, 1984),” (Sternberg, 339)
    Amabile: creativity of a product is to a large extent a social judgment
    Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking
    “a state of personal fulfillment, a connection to a primordial realm, or the expression of an inner essence or ultimate reality (Chu, 1970; Kuo, 1996; Mathur, 1982),” (340)
    Krippner & Arons
    Hinduism: spiritual or religious expression rather than an innovative solution to a problem
    “To create is to imitate the spiritual,” (Hallman, 340)
    Process, Reinterpretation of Traditional
  • 8. Creation Myth - Conception of Creativity Link
    Linear movement toward a new point
    Judeo-Christian: Book of Genesis - observable progress
    “…an insightful production achieved by an individual engaged in a working process with a finite beginning and end(Mason, 1988; Wonder & Blake, 1992),” (Sternberg, 341)
    Sinclair: “an ongoing process – a developing, an unfolding”
    Development and progress toward realization of the nature of the universe
    Circular movement in the sense of successive reconfigurations of an initial totality
    Modern views of creativity seem to echo cultural creation myths and may derive from them (341)
  • 9. Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking
    Product-oriented, originality-based definition
    Relatively simple verbal and figural tasks that involve divergent thinking plus other problem-solving skills
    Scored for fluidity, flexibility, originality, elaboration
    Flaws in different cultures
  • 10. Connection: Cross-Cultural Differences in Advertising
  • 11. Cultural Variation in the Creative Process
  • 12. The Creative Process
    Wallas’ Four-Stage Model
    Model Based on Yoga Sutras
    The Process Model
    Internal Identification
    Communication of Realizations
    The Process Model
  • 13. Vishvakarma
    God of architecture and engineering
    Hindu celebration
  • 14. Forms and Domains of Creativity
    Social Structure and Creativity
    Culture, Language, and Creativity
    Culture as a Channel for Creativity
  • 15. Culture as a Channel
  • 16. Forms & Domains of Creativity
    Instances of selectivity for creativity
    Topic’s role in the maintenance of cultural patterns affects degree of creative permissiveness
    “The more serious the art form…the less the permitted change,” (Ludwig)
    Within culturally selected domain, expression of creativity may be further specified
  • 17. Connection: Cultural Restrictions in Advertising
  • 18. Connection: Cultural Restrictions in Advertising
  • 19. Social Structure and Creativity
    Cultures can restrict creativity based on social structure
    Omaha Indian culture
    Kaluli of Papua New Guinea
    Gender-based differences on the quantity or quality of creative work
  • 20. Culture, Language, and Creativity
    Language shapes thought (Whorf, 1956)
    Language structures categories and expresses a culture’s understanding of the world (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980)
    Positive link between bilingualism and creativity
    Suggests that language as an integral part of culture may restrict the ways that people can creatively conceive of a problem
    Connection: Left-Handedness & Creativity
  • 21. The Nurturance of Creativity
  • 22. Culture’s Influence on Level of Creative Activity
    “Culture may influence the overall level of creative activity. Creativity may be stimulated or hindered by cultural features such as worldview and the value placed on conformity or tradition,” (Sternberg 345)
    Worldview – the culture’s conception of the nature of the world and people’s role in the world
    Collectivist vs.Individualistcultures
    Beliefs and Values
    Conformity and Tradition
    Other Influential Characteristics
  • 23. Conclusion
    “A given culture, may contain some elements that foster creativity and others that stifle it, yielding an overall influence that may be positive, negative, or neutral. Also, cultural features may not operate to the same extent in all domains of endeavor,” (Sternberg 346)
  • 24. Discussion Questions