The Relationship Between Intelligence & Creativity

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  • 0:03 Intelligence vs. Creativity
  • 1:27 JP Guilford
  • 2:25 Intelligence
  • 2:58 Creativity
  • 3:53 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Joe Ricker
Creativity and intelligence are the skills a brain uses to find solutions to a problem. Intelligence and creative skills often overlap, but being highly creative or highly intelligent doesn't necessarily mean high function with both.

Intelligence vs. Creativity

The relationship between intelligence and creativity is that both of them are functions of the brain that process information to determine a solution or an answer to a problem. Intelligence and creativity are different abilities that contribute to the other.

Intelligence can be measured by the intelligence quotient or IQ. Creativity, on the other hand, is not so easy to measure. The general belief is that people with high IQs are generally more creative, and people who are highly creative have high IQs. This isn't necessarily true. Although scientists have found a correlation between those individuals with an IQ of 120 or more having a higher level of creativity, the relationship between intelligence and creativity is more of an overlap of skills or abilities instead of a dependence on one another.

For example, if someone uses creativity to solve a problem, if they are faced with the same problem in the future, intelligence might be used because the brain has already learned how to solve the problem. Conversely, in order to solve a problem creatively, a person's level of intelligence gives them their starting point. So, the lower the level of intelligence, the more difficult it will be to solve the problem creatively. So, in terms of relationship, creativity and intelligence would have to define their social media relationship status as 'complicated.'

JP Guilford

JP Guilford pioneered the research and development of the Structure of Intellect model, which helped define the relationship between intelligence and creativity. In this model, methods of thinking are broken down into three separate dimensions of ability: content, operations, and products. These dimensions have subsets of five to six abilities. These separate abilities work together to produce different ways of thinking and solving problems, 150 different ways total!

Guilford's model revealed two of the operations are divergent and convergent production, which depend on creativity and intelligence, respectively, to solve a problem. Convergent thinking, or intelligence, applies to problems where there's only one solution. Math and science problems typically depend on convergent thinking to be resolved. Divergent thinking, also known as creative thinking, takes several different approaches to solving a problem that may or may not have multiple solutions.


Intelligence, or convergent production, is based on a person's ability to recall information and use that to solve a problem, so the set of skills a person uses to solve that problem is always the same. Once a person knows how to use subtraction, for example, they will continue to apply that skill to subtraction problems.

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