Handbook of Research on Creativity
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Handbook of Research on Creativity

Edited by Kerry Thomas and Janet Chan

In this timely work, creativity is not defined by an ideal, rather it encompasses a range of theories, functions, characteristics, processes, products and practices that are associated with the generation of novel and useful outcomes suited to particular social, cultural and political contexts. Chapters present original research by international scholars from a wide range of disciplines including history, sociology, psychology, philosophy, cultural studies, education, economics and interdisciplinary studies. Their research investigates creativity in diverse fields including art, creative industries, aesthetics, design, new media, music, arts education, science, engineering and technology.
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Chapter 21: The role of inhibition and perception in artistic creativity: a cognitive explanation

Emery Schubert


There are now abundant theories on how the creative process takes place. Such theories are important because they help us to reduce the complex, multifaceted process of creativity down into manageable parts, allowing us to understand and conceptualize the process, and possibly even lead to some predictions and applications, such as helping people to be more creative, or to explain why they are not. In this chapter I propose one theory that lies most comfortably in the emergent field of research called creative cognition (Finke, Ward, & Smith, 1992), although strongly interconnected with aesthetics, and in particular with understanding the processing of ill-defined problems frequently found in the arts – such as painting a picture, writing a novel, or composing a piece of music (the latter being the main focus of this chapter). I only occasionally refer to some of the other theories, many of which have been reviewed elsewhere (e.g., Aldous, 2007; Csikszentmihalyi, 1997; Kozbelt, Beghetto, & Runco, 2010; Runco, 2007).

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