Creativity Endnotes

About these endnotes

This is where we provide references and in-depth information about everything in the Creativity playbook.


We honor and thank the scientists whose research inspired this Playbook. Any errors or omissions are ours.

How we define this strength

The definition of creativity in psychological science typically involves two components: (a) novelty/originality and (b) usefulness/meaning (Barron, 1969; Guilford, 1950; Hennessey & Amabile, 2010; Kaufman, 2016; Kaufman & Sternberg, 2019; Kaufman & Gregoire, 2016; Kaufman, 2013; Sawyer, 2013). Creativity can be studied at different levels of analysis. One common approach is the Four P’s—the creative person, product, process, or press (Rhodes, 1962). In more recent years, a sociocultural perspective has emerged with the Five A’s— the creative actor, artifact, action, audience, and affordances (Glăveanu, 2013). A developmental trajectory is presented with the Four C’s, which start with the personal insights of mini-c, progress to everyday little-c, advance to expert-level Pro-c, and culminate in the creative genius of Big-C (Kaufman & Beghetto, 2009).

For the purposes of this Playbook, we emphasized an everyday, person-focused approach, which highlights the novelty component of creativity, and creativity as a set of characteristics or skills that enable important outcomes in life.

“…more open to new ideas and possibilities, better able to understand others’ perspectives, and more likely to seek out multiple solutions to problems.”

Creative people are more likely to be open to new experiences and ideas (Feist, Reiter-Palmon, & Kaufman, 2017). In particular, being open to new experiences is associated with artistic creativity and being open to new ideas is associated with scientific creativity (Kaufman et al., 2016). In addition, creativity is associated with better perspective-taking (Glăveanu, 2015), which allows people to have a wider variety of experiences. These experiences can then increase cognitive flexibility, which allows people to think of many different possible answers and ways of solving problems (Ritter et al., 2012).

“You can use it to help you improve your mood and cope with stress, feel more connected with other people and the world—and even help you find meaning and purpose in life.”

Creativity can be an amazing coping mechanism. Drawing, for example, can help regulate emotions (Drake & Winner, 2013), and writing can yield many emotional and physical health benefits (Travagin, Margola, & Revenson, 2015). Everyday creativity is related to higher levels of personal growth (Ivcevic, 2007), and people may be better able to use their creativity to heal and even grow after traumatic events (Forgeard, 2013). Creative people also usually have larger social networks (McKay, Grygiel, & Karwowski, 2017); even enjoying creative work in a public place makes you feel closer to others (Smith, 2014). Finally, the act of creativity can help people find meaning in life—it helps them make sense of their past, enjoy their present, and have goals for the future (Kaufman, 2018).

Ask open-ended questions. Point out that there usually isn’t a single straightforward answer to any complex problem…. Allow time for mind-wandering, play, and daydreaming.”

There are many ways that teachers can help enhance creativity in the classroom; one is to encourage students to find different ways of getting at the correct answer (Beghetto & Kaufman, 2014). Such seemingly unproductive activities as mind-wandering (Baird et al., 2012) and imaginative play (Hoffman & Russ, 2016) can lead to creative insights and breakthroughs (Carson, 2012; Gotlieb, Hyde, Immordino-Yang, & Kaufman, 2016; Gotlieb, Hyde, Immordino-Yang, & Kaufman, 2018; Gotlieb, Jahner, Immordino-Yang, & Kaufman, 2016).


Baird, B., Smallwood, J., Mrazek, M. D., Kam, J. W., Franklin, M. S., & Schooler, J. W. (2012). Inspired by distraction: mind wandering facilitates creative incubation. Psychological Science23(10), 1117-1122.

Barron, F. (1969). Creative person and creative process. Oxford, England: Holt, Rinehart, & Winston.

Beghetto, R. A., & Kaufman, J. C. (2014). Classroom contexts for creativity. High Ability Studies, 25(1), 53-69.

Carson, S. (2012). Your creative brain: Seven steps to maximize imagination, productivity, and innovation in your life. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Drake, J. E., & Winner, E. (2013). How children use drawing to regulate their emotions. Cognition and Emotion27(3), 512-520.

Feist, G. J., Reiter-Palmon, R., & Kaufman, J. C. (Eds.) (2017). Cambridge handbook of creativity and personality research. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Forgeard, M. J. (2013). Perceiving benefits after adversity: The relationship between self-reported posttraumatic growth and creativity. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 7(3), 245-264.

Guilford, J. O. (1950). Creativity. American Psychologist, 5(9), 444-454.

Glăveanu, V. P. (2013). Rewriting the language of creativity: The Five A’s framework. Review of General Psychology17(1), 69-81.

Glăveanu, V. P. (2015). Creativity as a sociocultural act. The Journal of Creative Behavior, 49(3), 165-180.

Gotlieb, R., Hyde, E., Immordino-Yang, M. H., & Kaufman, S. B. (2016). Cultivating the social-emotional imagination in gifted education: Insights from educational neuroscience. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1377(1), 22-31

Gotlieb, R., Jahner, E., Immordino-Yang, M. H., & Kaufman, S. B. (2016). How social-emotional imagination facilitates deep learning and creativity in the classroom. In R. A. Beghetto & J. C. Kaufman (Eds.). Nurturing creativity in the classroom (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. 

Gotlieb, R. J. M., Hyde, E., Immordino-Yang, M. H., & Kaufman, S. B. (2018). Imagination is the seed of creativity. In J. C. Kaufman & R. J. Sternberg (Eds.), The Cambridge handbook of creativity. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Hennessey, B. A., & Amabile, T. M. (2010). Creativity. Annual Review of Psychology, 61, 569-598.

Hoffmann, J. D., & Russ, S. W. (2016). Fostering pretend play skills and creativity in elementary school girls: A group play intervention. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 10(1), 114-125.

Ivcevic, Z. (2011). Artistic and everyday creativity: An act-frequency approach. The Journal of Creative Behavior, 41(4), 271-290.

Kaufman, J. C. (2016). Creativity 101 (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Springer.

Kaufman, J. C. (2018). Finding meaning with creativity in the past, present, and future. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 13(6), 734-749.

Kaufman, J. C., & Beghetto, R. A. (2009). Beyond big and little: The four c model of creativity. Review of General Psychology, 13(1), 1-12.

Kaufman, J. C., & Sternberg, R. J. (Eds.) (2019). Cambridge handbook of creativity (2nd Ed.). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.

Kaufman, S. B. (2013). Ungifted: Intelligence redefined. New York, NY: Basic Books.

Kaufman, S. B., & Gregoire, C. G. (2016). Wired to create: Unraveling the mysteries of the creative mind. New York, NY: TarcherPerigee.

Kaufman, S. B., Quilty, L. C., Grazioplene, R. G., Hirsh, J. B., Gray, J. R., Peterson, J. B., & DeYoung, C. G. (2016). Openness to experience and intellect differentially predict creative achievement in the arts and sciences. Journal of Personality, 84(2), 248-258.

McKay, A. S., Grygiel, P., & Karwowski, M. (2017). Connected to create: A social network analysis of friendship ties and creativity. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 11(3), 284–294.

Rhodes, M. (1962). An analysis of creativity. The Phi Delta Kappan, 42(7), 305–310.

Ritter, S. M., Damian, R. I., Simonton, D. K., van Baaren, R. B., Strick, M., Derks, J., & Dijksterhuis, A. (2012). Diversifying experiences enhance cognitive flexibility. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 48(4), 961-964.

Sawyer, K. (2013). Zig zag: The surprising path to greater creativity. New York, NY: Jossey-Bass.

Smith, J. K. (2014). Art as mirror: Creativity and communication in aesthetics. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 8(1), 110–118.

Travagin, G., Margola, D., & Revenson, T. A. (2015). How effective are expressive writing interventions for adolescents? A meta-analytic review. Clinical Psychology Review36, 42-55.