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"Non-creative behaviour is learned"

Updated: Mar 11, 2022

Excerpt from Article by Linda Naiman, founder of Creativity At Work.

George Land’s Creativity Test

In 1968, George Land conducted a research study to test the creativity of 1,600 children ranging in ages from three-to-five years old who were enrolled in a Head Start program. This was the same creativity test he devised for NASA to help select innovative engineers and scientists. The assessment worked so well he decided to try it on children. He re-tested the same children at 10 years of age, and again at 15 years of age. The results were astounding.

Test results amongst 5 year olds: 98% Test results amongst 10 year olds: 30% Test results amongst 15 year olds: 12% Same test given to 280,000 adults: 2%

“What we have concluded,” wrote Land, “is that non-creative behavior is learned.” (Source: George Land and Beth Jarman, Breaking Point and Beyond. San Francisco: HarperBusiness, 1993)

Why aren’t adults as creative as children?

For most, creativity has been buried by rules and regulations. Our educational system was designed during the Industrial Revolution over 200 years ago, to train us to be good workers and follow instructions. I have experienced this myself and definitely noticed it in my children's education. Art classes are based on lessons of "skills" and assignments that must be performed precisely according to a set of instructions (rubrics) in order to get an agreeable grade. There is no reward for originality - the ultimate creativity skill, which is completely missed in the curriculum. So we learn to suppress our creativity. And those brave individuals, who dare to be different and original, suffer the consequences of their creativity with low grades and peer/teacher based negative feedback.

There are consequences to suppressed creativity

You only have to get honest with yourself to understand the consequences of suppressing your creativity at a young age. The consequences can range from living with a constant longing for more self-fulfillment to missing out on opportunities in your life because you couldn't think creatively. What have you experienced because of suppressing your creativity?

Can Creativity be Taught?

Yes, creativity skills can be learned. Not from sitting in a lecture, but by learning and applying creative thinking processes.

This is the reason behind ArtSpa - to reawaken the creativity that was born inside us.

I plan to discover and share more science behind creativity so that we all get a full picture of why it is so important and hopefully spur us on to practice our creativity more often; make it a part of our regular week.

Cheers, Karen.

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