For this activity, you can choose to respond to either of two readings, Chapter 3 from the book Creativity or an article that three of us published a couple years ago. The chapter provides a general overview of the concept of the psychologically complex personality and the article provides a narrow analysis and discussion of one person, Oscar Peterson. I recommend that you look both over before choose the one you wish to read.
In the previous chapter, you were introduced to the Systems Theory of Creativity, where Csikszentmihalyi argued that creative people do not, as popular culture holds, work in isolation and do not achieve their success because they are lone geniuses. Instead, they succeed because they understand how to effectively function within a system, comprised on the largest level as the Domain, the Field, and the Individual. In Chapter Three, he makes the case that highly creative persons can be characterized by the complexity of their personalities. They are are both highly differentiated and integrated.
After you have read and thought about the chapter, click on Activity 13: The Creative Personality. Within this topic, click “Create Thread.” Enter the subject line of your choice. It should be something that calls attention to the topic(s) you will be writing about in your detailed post, begin with a summary of the idea of psychological complexity in your own words. How does having a personality consisting of opposite traits position someone to be more creative? Include an example of someone you consider psychologically complex, maybe even yourself. Does this complexity help you or them to be more creative?
Please closely read the article “Assessing Psychological Complexity in Highly Creative Persons: The Case of Oscar Peterson.” Gute, Gute, & Csikszentmihalyi _2016_.pdf
While the instructions for this option are shorter than those for the one above, many will not find this article’s topic or style their cup of tea. A few might. It’s a fairly dense and technical introduction to a series of studies we’re conducting on psychological complexity in highly creative persons.
After you’ve read the article closely, which will take some time, please write a detailed post sharing your thoughts about our claim for the presence of psychological complexity in creative persons and about our argument for how Oscar Peterson appears to have developed his introversion. Of course, as with all posts in this class, you can allow this to take you where it will, including any personal experience you might have with the development and coexistence of opposites that have served you will in life. I see this as an especially-challenging activity, but am hopeful that a few of you will take it on.
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