Neuroscience and Biobehavioral : Creativity and Giftedness

By Ogurlu, Uzeyir


Both creativity and giftedness are seen as the driving forces that push human civilizations forward. It is not a surprise that scholars who wrote on the history of creativity and those on giftedness both refer to the Sputnik Era as a turning point. This is a specific time in which the need for creative thinking and gifted education was felt most deeply by Americans, which fueled the interest, funding, and scholarship around these two related disciplines.

The link between creativity and giftedness has intrigued many scholars in different fields for decades. Creativity has been one of the most frequently researched topics in gifted education. Dai et al. (2011) found that creativity was one of the four main research topics in gifted education between 1998 and 2010. As of October 22, 2018, the PsycINFO database yielded 2441 publications for the combination of the abbreviated keywords “gifted*” and “creativ*”, and showed a steady increase on these topics across decades. However, the lack of agreement on definitions of creativity and giftedness beclouds the nature of the relationship between two constructs. There is a consensus that they are neither perfectly overlapping constructs nor totally unrelated. Treffinger (2004) proposes 5 themes that are expository grounds of the relationship between creativity and giftedness:

Definition. Attempts to define these two constructs resulted in the curiosity of how these two concepts are related to each other. Although there are several theories on creativity and giftedness, it is accepted that cognitive, non-cognitive and contextual factors play critical roles in both of them. This agreement gave rise to multiple links between creativity and giftedness.

Characteristics. There are some indicators that both giftedness and creativity share in common which people are able to manifest in genuine ways. They might be seen in different ways at various times involving different styles. Treffinger also pointed out a shift from “level” approach to “style” approach for both concepts. In other words, the way you express your creativity is more prevalent than how much creative you are. This variety of expressions also implies that these common characteristics can be improved and open to development. Justification. The importance of giftedness and creativity has become more prominent in education. Many studies have shown the value of creativity in life and work. In addition, recent theories of giftedness viewing creativity as a component of giftedness expanded the scope of giftedness. The new paradigm of giftedness emphasizes the importance of inclusive definitions, diverse skill-sets and a multifaceted identification process in gifted education. Thus, the inclusion of other factors such as creativity or task commitment makes giftedness more integral to education. As a result, teaching creativity in education help students demonstrate their gifted behaviors and equip them better for the requirements of life and work.

Assessment. Both giftedness and creativity can be measured in different ways. No single score provides a comprehensive measurement. The accuracy of assessment is enhanced with the use of multiple sources. Improvement of assessment tools is a key to developing a better understanding and examination of giftedness and creativity. Nurture. Creativity and giftedness can be improved. Although changeability of giftedness may be controversial when giftedness relies solely on a single factor such as intelligence, recent views on giftedness agree that multiple factors play roles in expressing giftedness. For instance, in Renzulli’s Three Ring Model, higher task commitment or creativity is associated with higher level of giftedness.

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