Claremont Graduate University

Project Description

Cross-Cultural Differences in the Judgment of Creativity in the Visual Arts

Project Abstract

The success and acceptance of creative products are inherently based on the judgments of the populous they cater to (Amabile, 1983). Previous researchers deconstructed creativity into several dimensions according to the popular definition of creativity as that process that results in a novel work that is accepted as tenable or useful or satisfying by a group (Stein, 1953). As such, researchers like Amabile (1983) and Torrance (1974) had raters assess products on dimensions of novelty and appropriateness to the topic to operationally define creativity, but Lubart (1990) points out the difficulty in determining whether creativity as embodied by those dimensions is congruent with the actual definitions of creativity in different cultures. Li (1997) finds that novelty is not a core component of the Eastern conception of creativity, while Cheung and Yue (2007) stress the usefulness or social contribution of the creation as critical just like Stein�s definition. Therefore, the Eastern conception of creativity is fundamentally different from Stein�s definition and simple cross-cultural comparisons utilizing Stein�s definition amount to comparing a concept using two different operational definitions. Nevertheless, much of the cross-cultural work commits this error and has resulted in the assertion that Asians appear to be less creative than Westerners (Ng, 1999). But these studies focus primarily on simple, meaningless products and lay judgments of creativity, not expert judgments (Chen et al., 2002; Niu & Sternberg, 2003). And according to Csikszentmihalyi (1996), experts are the gatekeepers of whether an idea or product is considered creative. Therefore, if creativity is culturally and socially bound, experts from Asian and Western judgments of what is creative should vary along specific dimensions. Using contemporary art produced by professional artists from Asia and the West, the goal of this study is to explore on which dimensions of creativity do experts from different cultures differ

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