Types of Creativity: Descriptions & Examples

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  • 0:04 Creative Differences
  • 1:07 Types of Creativity
  • 4:31 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

Is your creativity driven by your heart or your head? In this lesson, you'll learn more about the types of creativity, how the brain is involved and how different characteristics interplay to come up with a final result.

Creative Differences

Ludwig van Beethoven is certainly one of the most creative composers who ever lived. Even after suffering from hearing loss, he still created arguably his most well-known creation: the Ninth Symphony.

Fast-forward to more current times and see another example of creativity in action with Steve Jobs. Before his death in 2011, his passion for computers and connectivity led to the creation of Mac computers and the iPhone.

These are two totally different people with two totally different modes of creativity. How, exactly, does that happen? If you're creative in one area, wouldn't you be creative in all areas? That's not how Arne Dietrich, a professor of cognitive neuroscience, saw it. In research he published in 2004 in the Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, Dietrich described four different types of creativity based on where it comes from in the brain.

To better foster creativity in the workplace, it's important to understand the different types of creativity. So, let's take a look.

Types of Creativity

Dietrich created what he called the Knowledge Domain with four distinct processing modes (emotional, cognitive, deliberate, and spontaneous), which together make up a quadrant of creative types with different characteristics. Both Dietrich and others who have researched the topic created a visual to represent the four areas:

creativity, Dietrich, emotional, cognitive, spontaneous, deliberate

Let's explore each one.

Deliberate and Cognitive

Creative types who are deliberate and cognitively-based are purposeful. They possess a lot of knowledge about a particular subject and combine that with their skills and abilities to put a plan into action. People with this type of creativity are usually adept at research, experimentation, and problem-solving. This type of creativity lies in the brain's prefrontal cortex toward the front of the brain.

This quadrant is frequently represented by noted inventor Thomas Edison, who we have to thank for advances in electricity and telecommunications. Edison was noted for the amount of time he spent analyzing his experiments and persevering until he reached his goal.

Deliberate and Emotional

According to Dietrich, creative people who are classified as deliberate and emotional let their work be influenced by their emotions. These are frequently more sensitive and feeling individuals who might prefer lots of quiet time for personal reflection or writing in a diary, but they are also equally logical and rational, marrying deliberate actions with emotional creativity. This type of creativity lies in the brain's amygdala, responsible for human emotion, and cingulate cortex, which combines learning and information processing.

This quadrant is indicative of those ''A-Ha!'' moments, or quick bursts of sudden realization or insight into a problem or idea. An example of this might come following a personal incident like a bankruptcy, where you're reflecting on the decisions that got you to that point and using deliberate and emotional creativity to reflect and overcome your challenge.

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