Dean Keith Simonton: Scientific Creativity: Discovery and Invention as Combinatorial
Although scientific creativity is often viewed as entailing some combinatorial process or procedure, it is necessary to more explicitly formalize what that actually means. By focusing on creativity as problem solving, three parameters are used to describe eight possible combinatorial solutions, only one of which is considered creative. The latter leads to a three-critertion creativity definition, namely, that personally assessed creativity is a multiplicative function of originality, utility, and surprise.
This definition then has six major implications, implications that are partly illustrated using Monte Carlo simulations. One key repercussion is that creativity always requires some involvement of trial and error, generate and test, or blind variation and selective retention (however named). Moreover, the formal representation implies that no single pro- cess or procedure can ever be specified as generating the creative combinatorial solutions. The presentation concludes by using the three-criterion definition to indicate how creativity differs in the arts and sciences.
Dean Keith Simonton
Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Department of Psychology, University of California, Davis
Dean Keith Simonton is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of California, Davis. After earning his 1975 Harvard doctorate in social psychology, his research has largely focused on diverse aspects of genius, creativity, leadership, talent, and aesthetics. Although he most frequently uses historiometric methods, he has also published mathematical models, computer simulations, laboratory experiments, psychometric assessments, meta-analyses, interviews, and single-case studies. The resulting output includes 14 books, 153 book chapters, 47 entries in 27 encyclopedias, and 345 contributions to 134 journals, annuals, and other periodicals. His Google i10- and h-indices stand at 259 and 75, respectively. Dr. Simonton has also received numerous honors, such as the William James Book Award, the George A. Miller Outstanding Article Award, the SPSP Theoretical Innovation Prize, and the Sir Francis Galton Award. In 2018 MIT Press put out The Genius Checklist: Nine Paradoxical Tips on How You Can Become a Creative Genius.