200. Simonton, D. K. (1999j). Historical trends in art and art criticism: Historiometric perspectives. Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Thought, 22, 687-703.
Historiometrics integrates history with psychometrics, and applies quantitative methods to historic personalities and events to test significant nomothetic hypotheses. In a historiometric analysis of an artistic epoch and its metamorphosis over time, variables widely linked to artistry are selected in advance. The analysis proceeds with the collection of data on artists, their artworks, and relevant historical variables. The data are then coded and quantified. Typically this requires biographical scales (artistic precocity, available mentors, vanguard involvement), personality scales (psychodynamics, traits, psychopathology), creativity scales (innovation, productivity, fame), and zeitgeist scales (amount, type, and rate of artistic, intellectual, and sociopolitical ferment). Artistic products are evaluated as well, in content and form. Interrater reliability is checked and computerized statistical analyses are performed. The historiometric approach yields precise statements as to what variables facilitate successful artistry and/or effect cultural change. Historiometrics also enables comparison of historical periods characterized by paradigm shifts. In this, one can see what general principles are at work in paradigm shifts, transcending the particulars of time and place.
203. Simonton, D. K. (1999m). Origins of genius: Darwinian perspectives on creativity. New York: Oxford University Press.
Examines the nature and origins of creative genius and argues that creativity can be best understood as a Darwinian process of variation and selection. For example, the artist or scientist generates a wealth of ideas, and then subjects these ideas to aesthetic or scientific judgement, selecting only those that have the best chance to survive and reproduce. In deed, the true test of genius in this example is the ability to bequeath an impressive and influential body of work to future generations. Drawing on research into creativity, the author explores such topics as the personality type of the genius, whether genius is genetic or produced by environment and education, the links between genius and mental illness, the high incidence of childhood trauma, especially loss of a parent, amongst Nobel Prize winners, and the importance of unconscious incubation in creative problem-solving [from the jacket].
204. Simonton, D. K. (1999n). [Review of the book Strange brains and genius: The secret lives of eccentric scientists and madmen, C. A. Pickover]. Isis: Journal of the History of Science Society, 90, 107-108.
205. Simonton, D. K. (1999o). Significant samples: The psychological study of eminent individuals. Psychological Methods, 4, 425-451.
Psychologists occasionally study eminent individuals, such as Nobel laureates, U.S. presidents, Olympic athletes, chess grandmasters, movie stars, and even distinguished psychologists. Studies using such significant samples may be differentiated along 7 distinct dimensions: qualitative versus quantitative, single versus multiple case, nomothetic versus idiographic, confirmatory versus exploratory, cross-sectional versus longitudinal, micro versus macro analytical units, and direct versus indirect assessments. However, the vast majority of psychological inquiries may be clustered into just 4 types: historiometric, psychometric, psychobiographical, and comparative. After presenting the intrinsic and extrinsic justifications for studying famous persons, the main methodological issues concerning sampling, measurement, and analysis are discussed. The future prospects of significant samples in psychological research are then briefly examined.
206. Simonton, D. K. (1999p). Talent and its development: An emergenic and epigenetic model. Psychological Review, 106, 435-457.
Although superior performance in games, sports, science, and the arts is often ascribed to talent, the hypothesized phenomenon may not be fully understood unless it is conceived as a multidimensional and multiplicative developmental process. This point is elaborated in the form of a 2-part emergenic-epigenetic model. The emergenic part treats domain specificity, profile heterogeneity, cross-sectional distributions and predictability, familial heritability, and domain complexity. The epigenetic part treats early versus late bloomers, early signs, cross-sectional distribution across the life span, talent loss and shifts in talent domain, and longitudinal predictability. Besides explaining the available cross-sectional and longitudinal data, the resulting model has critical implications for how best to investigate the development of exceptional performance in all talent domains.
208. Simonton, D. K. (2000a). Archival research. In A. E. Kazdin (Ed.), Encyclopedia of psychology (Vol. 1, pp. 234-235). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association; New York: Oxford University Press.
210. Simonton, D. K. (2000c). Creative development as acquired expertise: Theoretical issues and an empirical test. Developmental Review, 20, 283-318.
Although outstanding creativity has been viewed as an acquired expertise, creative development might operate differently than occurs in sports, games, and music performance. To test the creative-expertise hypothesis, the careers of 59 classical composers were examined according to the differential aesthetic success of their 911 operas. The potential predictors were seven measures of domain-relevant experience: cumulative years (since first operas, first compositions, and first lessons) and cumulative products (genre-specific operas, all operas, all vocal compositions, and all compositions). The nonmonotonic longitudinal trends and the relative explanatory power of the expertise-acquisition measures indicate that complex specialization (“overtraining”) and versatility (“cross-training”) effects may determine creative development across the life span. The broader implications of the findings are then discussed.
211. Simonton, D. K. (2000d). Creativity and psychopathology from a Darwinian perspective. Bulletin of Psychology and the Arts, 1, 38-40.
Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selections provided an explanation of how new species could emerge by a simple process of “blind-variation and selective-retention” (BVSR). A similar BVSR mechanism provides a comprehensive theory of creativity, albeit the process is far more complicated and operates on multiple levels. The empirical support for this theory is documented two ways. First, the theory’s explanatory power is shown with respect to the cognitive processes, individual differences, developmental antecedents, and sociocultural influences underlying creativity. Second, the theory’s predictive power is demonstrated with respect to creative careers, stylistic evolution, and multiple discoveries. In addition, the BVSR model provides the foundation for the only computer programs that have generated authentic creative products. Finally, by conceiving creativity in Darwinian terms, the phenomenon is linked with evolutionary psychology, the only framework for a theoretical integration of the biological, behavioral, and social sciences.
212. Simonton, D. K. (2000e). Creativity: Cognitive, developmental, personal, and social aspects. American Psychologist, 55, 151-158.
Although many psychologists have expressed an interest in the phenomenon of creativity, psychological research on this topic did not rapidly expand until after J. P. Guilford claimed, in his 1950 APA presidential address, that this topic deserved far more attention than it was then receiving. This article reviews the progress psychologists have made in understanding creativity since Guilford’s call to arms. Research progress has taken place on 4 fronts: the cognitive processes involved in the creative act, the distinctive characteristics of the creative person, the development and manifestation of creativity across the individual life span, and the social environments most strongly associated with creative activity. Although some important questions remain unanswered, psychologists now know more than ever before about how individuals achieve this special and significant form of optimal human functioning.
214. Simonton, D. K. (2000g). Genius and giftedness: Same or different? In K. A. Heller, F. J. Mönks, R. J. Sternberg, & R. F. Subotnik (Eds.), International handbook of research and development of giftedness and talent (2nd ed., pp. 111-121). Terrytown, NY: Pergamon.
215. Simonton, D. K. (2000h). Human creativity, cultural evolution, and niche construction. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 23, 150-151.
Cultural evolution may be even more proflific in the generation of new forms than is biological evolution – especially when it takes the form of creative genius. Yet evolutionary theories have tended to overlook the factors that might select for outstanding individual creativity. A recent duel-inheritance theory is outlined and then integrated with the niche-construction theory of Laland et al.
216. Simonton, D. K. (2000i). Methodological and theoretical orientation and the long-term disciplinary impact of 54 eminent psychologists. Review of General Psychology, 4, 13-24.
The long-term influence of 54 highly eminent psychologists was hypothesized to be a function of their methodological and theoretical orientation. Individual differences in impact were gauged via theSocial Sciences Citation Index for 1976-1980 and 1986-1990. Orientation was assessed along 6 dimensions: objectivistic versus subjectivistic, quantitative versus qualitative, elementaristic versus holistic, impersonal versus personal, static versus dynamic, and exogenist versus endogenist (R. W. Coan, 1979). Correlation and regression analyses revealed that long-term influence could be predicted by both method and theory measures. Especially significant was the curvilinear backward-J curve between total citations and a general factor defined by all 6 bipolar dimensions. The most influential psychologists tend to take extreme positions on the controversies that have characterized the history of psychology.
217. Simonton, D. K. (2000j). The music or the words? Or, how important is the libretto for an opera’s aesthetic success? Empirical Studies of the Arts, 18, 105-118.
What are the comparative contributions of composer and librettist to the aesthetic impact of great operas? This question was empirically answered using a sample of 911 operas by fifty-nine composers. The aesthetic success of each opera was gauged by a composite measure that included performance and recording frequencies as well as archival indicators. The predictor variables were both idiographic (e.g., the specific identities of the librettists and the literary sources) and nomothetic (e.g., literary genre, language, librettist’s age, and experience). After introducing appropriate control variables, the multiple-regression analyses demonstrated that coomposers play a much bigger role in determining operatic impact than do librettists or their libretti. The identity of the composer alone accounted for almost half of the variance in aesthetic success. As far as opera is concerned, the music is aesthetically more crucial than are the words.
224. Simonton, D. K. (2001b). Creativity as cognitive selection: The blind-variation and selective-retention model. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 24, 554-556.
Campbell (1960) proposed a “blind-variation and selective-retention” model of creative cognition. Subsequent researchers have developed this BVSR model into a comprehensive theory of human creativity, one that recognizes that human creativity operates by more than one cognitive process. The question is then raised of how the BVSR model can be accommodated within the Hull et al. selectionist system.
226. Simonton, D. K. (2001d). Emotion and composition in classical music: Historiometric perspectives. In P. Juslin & J. Sloboda (Eds.), Music and emotion: Theory and research (pp. 205-222). New York: Oxford University Press.
227. Simonton, D. K. (2001e). Harvey C. Lehman’s Age and Achievement: Talent development across the life span [Review of the book Age and achievement, H. C. Lehman]. Roeper Review: A Journal on Gifted Education, 23, 166.
228. Simonton, D. K. (2001f). Kings, queens, and sultans: Empirical studies of political leadership in European hereditary monarchies. In O. Feldman & L. O. Valenty (Eds.), Profiling political leaders: Cross-cultural studies of personality and behavior (pp. 97-110). Westport, CT: Praeger.
Analyzes similarities between modern heads of state and historic hereditary monarchs by reviewing research from the perspective of psychology, sociology, history, and political leadership. The author finds evidence for strong variation in personality and leadership style across hereditary monarchs and relates this variation to genetic proclivity, role-modeling effects, and gender. This preliminary discussion is then used to determine the relative influence of historical activity, individual characteristics, and personality attributes upon political leadership and perceptions of greatness, both for historic hereditary monarchs and for modern heads of state. Findings are specifically compared to what has been learned in research on presidents of the US. This chapter concludes with a discussion of the essential similarity of predictive independent variables in determining performance and eminence in monarch and modern heads of state and an argument that this comparison may help to develop a more comprehensive understanding of political leadership [from the introduction].
229. Simonton, D. K. (2001g). Predicting presidential greatness: Equation replication on recent survey results. Journal of Social Psychology, 141, 293-307.
For more than 2 decades, researchers have tried to identify the variables that predict the overall performance of US presidents. In 1986, there emerged a 6-variable prediction equation (D. K. Simonton, 1986, 1987) that has been replicated repeatedly. The predictors are years in office, war years, scandal, assassination, heroism in war, and intellectual brilliance. The author again replicated the equation on recent rankings of all presidents from George Washington through William Jefferson Clinton according to a survey of 719 experts (W. R. Ridings, Jr., & S. B. McIver, 1997). The original 6-variable equation successfully predicted both the overall rankings as well as the 5 core components of the rankings (leadership qualities, accomplishment, political skill, appointments, character and integrity). The predictive value of the equation was illustrated for the presidencies of Ronald W. Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Clinton.
230. Simonton, D. K. (2001h). [Review of the book The things we do: Using the lessons of Bernard and Darwin to understand the what, how, and why of our behavior, G. Cziko]. Quarterly Review of Biology, 76, 268.
231. Simonton, D. K. (2001i). Talent development as a multidimensional, multiplicative, and dynamic process. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 10, 39-43.
Recent empirical research has challenged the common belief in the existence of talent, suggesting that exceptional performance is entirely the product of nurture rather than nature. However, this research has been based on a simple conception of what talent entails. Rather than involving a unidimensional, additive, and static genetic process, talent may instead emerge from a multidimensional, multiplicative, and dynamic process. This latter possibility is described in a two-part model that combines multidimensional and multiplicative inheritance with dynamic development. The first part of the model handles domain specificity, profile heterogeneity, the distribution of individual differences, familial heritability, and domain complexity. The second part explicates early- vs late-bloomers, early signs of talent, talent loss, and shifts in the domain of talent. The resulting model has crucial implications for how best to gauge the impact of nature in the development of talent.
232. Simonton, D. K. (2001j). Totally made, not at all born [Review of the book The psychology of high abilities, M. J. A. Howe]. Contemporary Psychology, 46, 176-179.
The current volume is but one publication among many in which M. Howe has argued that exceptional ability is entirely a product of nurture, not nature. Moreover, among the several books that take this position, this can be considered among the best. It is written well and well organized. For its length, it reviews a large amount of scholarly research and does so competently. The book is full of concrete examples, and avoids getting distracted by technical details. Finally, the book covers almost all of the central topics in the psychology of high abilities. In particular, it treats the various influences on abilities (Chapter 1), the family backgrounds of high achievers (Chapter 2), the question of whether the acquisition of abilities can be accelerated (Chapter .3), the central phenomena of child prodigies (Chapter 4) and geniuses (Chapter 5), the relation between intelligence and high abilities (Chapter 6), and how to help young children to acquire high abilities (Chapter 8). Not surprisingly, a whole chapter is allotted to and titled “Innate Talents: Reality or Myth?” (Chapter 7). Here Howe makes it very clear which stand he thinks is most scientifically defensible. All in all, it is an excellent book and one that I can heartily recommend to any psychologist intrigued by exceptional abilities, whether they subscribe to the drudge theory or not.
233. Cassandro, V. J., & Simonton, D. K. (2002). Creativity and genius. In C. L. M. Keyes & J. Haidt (Ed.), Flourishing: Positive psychology and the life well-lived (pp. 163-183). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
This chapter describes the nature of both creativity and the creative genius, their relationship to the positive psychology movement, as well as strategies that have been developed to measure these phenomena at the individual and sociocultural levels. The concept of creativity is said to entail three essential and product-focused criteria: novelty, adaptiveness or appropriateness to the problem at hand, and completeness. Genius is said to entail uniqueness, impact, and quality of intellectual power. Creative products, eminence, intelligence, cognitive style, and personality and biography are characteristics discussed in terms of the study of creative genius at the level of the individual. And, briefly discussed is the fact that creativity and genius can also be conceptualized and measured at the sociocultural level as unique features of a cultural or historical period [from the chapter].
234. Simonton, D. K. (2002a). Collaborative aesthetics in the feature film: Cinematic components predicting the differential impact of 2,323 Oscar-nominated movies. Empirical Studies of the Arts, 20, 115-125.
Unlike most forms of artistic expression, the feature film is the collaborative product of many individuals. The comparative impact of these separate contributions was assessed in 2,323 movies nominated for Academy Awards in the major categories. The raw data from the sampling procedure and variable measurement came from primarily electronic sources. Two criteria of a film’s impact were defined (best picture honors and movie guide ratings) along with 16 potential predictor variables (direction, male and female leads, male and female supporting roles, screenplay, art direction, costume design, makeup, cinematography, film editing, score, song, visual effects, sound effects editing, and sound) and five control variables (release date and the genre of drama, comedy, romance, and musical). Multiple regression analyses indicated that between 30% and 75% of the variance in impact could be explained using a subset of these factors.
238. Simonton, D. K. (2002e). Great psychologists and their times: Scientific insights into psychology’s history. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
This book comprehensively compiles research on the factors that contribute to a psychologist having a high impact on the discipline. Simonton examines those individuals who have contributed most tot he advancement of psychological science. Moreover, these notables are examined from a scientific perspective – especially from the standpoint of the psychology of science. The book integrates all of the relevant research on the psychology of eminent psychologists, from the pioneering work of Francis Galton to work published in the 21st century. Chapters contain examples drawn from the lives and careers of notable psychologists, examining such issues as birth order, intellectual precocity, mentoring, psychopathology, worldview, and aging. Of particular interest are chapters exploring what aspects of the sociocultural context are most conductive to the emergence of illustrious psychologists and how these sociocultural conditions – including political events, economic disturbances, or cultural values – affect not only the magnitude of achievement but also the very nature of that achievement. The findings reviewed lead to suggestions about how best to educate and train both undergraduate psychology majors and graduate students in psychology [from the jacket].
239. Simonton, D. K. (2002f). In the beginning … The alpha and omega of the mind [Review of the book The evolution of cognition, C. Heyes & L. Huber (Eds.)]. Contemporary Psychology, 47, 386-388.
As Heyes emphasizes in her introductory chapter, the goal is to treat evolutionary psychology “in the round.” By this she means a discipline that goes beyond an anthropocentric focus on just the human species, and a discipline that encompasses the full range of analytical perspectives, including the ecological, phylogenetic, comparative, and selection theoretic. The volume’s chapters were therefore selected to demonstrate the full breadth and depth of this alternative evolutionary psychology. The awesome diversity of issues and methods is augmented by the tremendously diverse backgrounds of those who wrote the chapters. In short, the chapters represent an international and interdisciplinary perspective on the evolution of cognition. This book presents an evolutionary psychology that is not just in the round, but global besides.
240. Simonton, D. K. (2002g). Intelligence and presidential greatness: Equation replication using 56
estimates. Advances in Psychology Research, 13, 163-174.
For more than 20 years researchers have tried to identify the variables that predict the overall performance of US presidents. Eventually a six-variable prediction equation emerged that has undergone repeated replication in studies published between 1986 and 2001. The predictors are years in office, war years, scandal, assassination, war hero, and intellectual brilliance. However, because previous investigations were confined to presidents between Washington and Reagan, the current study extended the test to all presidents between Washington and Clinton. In addition, the test used the most recent ratings of presidential performance and introduced updated intelligence estimates that were transformed into IQ scores. According to a multiple regression analysis, all six predictors were again statistically significant, together accounting for 77% of the variance in presidential performance ratings.
241. Simonton, D. K. (2002h). It’s absolutely impossible? A longitudinal study of one psychologist’s response to conventional naysayers. In R. J. Sternberg (Ed.), Psychologists defying the crowd: Stories of those who battled the establishment and won (pp. 238-254). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
The author presents a professional autobiography of his research into creativity. The relationship between the author’s research and mainstream psychology interests form the context of the autobiography [from the chapter].
242. Simonton, D. K. (2002i). Las personas que hacen historia. In R. Ardila (Ed.), La psicholgía en el futuro: Los más destacados psicólogos del mundo reflexionan sobre el futuro de su disciplina (pp. 271-275). Madrid: Ediciones Pirámide.
243. Simonton, D. K. (2002j). On underrepresented populations in creativity research. Creativity Research Journal, 14, 279-280.
Replies to a commentary by S. Benolken (2002) regarding the author’s previous article discussing creativity research. Simonton argues that he does not want to be interpreted as implying that creativity is completely different in anyone who is not a White male. Also, he does not believe than other aspects of the phenomenon may operate somewhat differently depending on gender and ethnicity. Simonton notes that he is currently studying 294 eminent African Americans.
247. Simonton, D. K. (2003a). Creative cultures, nations, and civilizations: Strategies and results. In P. B. Paulus & B. A. Nijstad (Eds.), Group creativity: Innovation through collaboration (pp. 304-328). New York: Oxford University Press.
This chapter focuses on the creativity of nations, and offers an analysis of the factors that lead cultures, nations, and civilizations to be creative. The author argues that the coming and going of great creative genius in various times and places can be better attributed to changes in the cultural, social, political and economic circumstances that determine the extent to which the resulting milieu nurtures the development of creative potential and the expression of that developed potential. The chapter reviews previous research literature on the area of creativity, and suggest that a comprehensive psychology of creativity must view it as a complex phenomenon that occurs at multiple levels, from individuals, interpersonal interactions, and problem-solving groups to cultures, nations, and civilizations [from the chapter].
249. Simonton, D. K. (2003c). Creativity as variation and selection: Some critical constraints. In M. Runco (Ed.), Critical creative processes (pp. 3-18). Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press.
Discusses evolutionary variation and selection aspects of creativity. Selection processes are discussed at the level of ideas, individual creators and groups or cultures. Factors discussed include cognitive selection, interpersonal selection and sociocultural selection. These factors represent restraints that operate at different levels to restrict the ideational variations in the world. Critical constraints that are imposed at the beginning of the processes are discussed in 2 broad classes: limitations on problem identification implemented by creative individuals, and constraints imposed on solution generation. The following themes are emphasized in conclusion: (1) creativity is a precarious activity, (2) creativity is at risk due to adjustment of tradeoffs, and (3) the necessity of finding an equilibrium between opposites often results in curvilinear relations between antecedent variables and creative behavior [from the chapter].
250. Simonton, D. K. (2003d). Exceptional creativity across the life span: The emergence and manifestation of creative genius. In L. V. Shavinina (Ed.), International handbook of innovation (pp. 293-308). Oxford, UK: Elsevier Science.
251. Simonton, D. K. (2003e). Expertise, competence, and creative ability: The perplexing complexities. In R. J. Sternberg & E. L. Grigorenko (Eds.), Perspectives on the psychology of abilities, competencies, and expertise (pp. 213-239). New York: Cambridge University Press.
Discusses expertise, competence, and creative ability. This chapter addresses questions about the status of creativity as a psychological capacity. The author believe that the phenomenon of creativity highlights some critical issues about the nature of abilities, expertise, and competencies. Whether other human capacities operate in a manner similar to creativity is also discussed [from the chapter].
253. Simonton, D. K. (2003g). Francis Galton’s Hereditary Genius: Its place in the history and psychology of science. In R. J. Sternberg (Ed.), The anatomy of impact: What has made the great works of psychology great (pp. 3-18). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
This chapter discusses the historical importance and impact of the work of F. Galton. Specifically, the author places the work Hereditary Genius into its historical context and analyzes the impact of this work on future theorists, such as C. Darwin. By comparing Hereditary Genius with what psychologists have learned about the nature of great scientists and their works, this chapter shows several attributes that can be considered fairly representative of what and how influential contributions have an impact on the world [from the chapter].
256. Simonton, D. K. (2003j). Journalists and geneticists – greatness and goodness [Review of the book Good work: When Excellence and Ethics Meet, H. Gardner, M. Csikszentmihalyi, & W. Damon]. Contemporary Psychology, 48, 188-190.
Provides a review of the book “Good Work: When Excellence and Ethics Meet” by Howard Gardner, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, and William Damon (2001) which discusses the link between greatness and psychoticism or other “unattractive human vices”. This book has many attractive features that render it “highly recommended” for all readers who share the authors’ concerns. It is full of provocative and insightful observations by some of the leading geneticists and journalists in the world today. These virtues notwithstanding, it must be stressed that the focal audience for this book is clearly the general educated layperson rather than the research psychologist.
257. Simonton, D. K. (2003k). Kroeber’s cultural configurations, Sorokin’s culture mentalities, and generational time-series analysis: A quantitative paradigm for the comparative study of civilizations. Comparative Civilizations Review, 49, 96-108.
258. Simonton, D. K. (2003l). Qualitative and quantitative analyses of historical data. Annual Review of Psychology, 54, 617-640.
Although the typical study in psychology involves the quantitative analysis of contemporary research participants, occasionally psychologists will study historical persons or events. Moreover, these historical data may be analyzed using either qualitative or quantitative techniques. After giving examples from the subdisciplines of cognitive, developmental, differential, abnormal, and social psychology, the distinctive methodological features of this approach are outlined. These include both data collection (sampling, unit definition, etc.) and data analysis (both qualitative and quantitative). The discussion then turns to the advantages and disadvantages of this research method. The article closes by presenting the reasons why (a) psychologists will probably continue to use historical data and (b) quantitative analyses may eventually replace qualitative analyses in such applications.
260. Simonton, D. K. (2003n). [Review of the book The psychological assessment of political leaders: With profiles of Saddam Hussein and Bill Clinton, J. M. Post (Ed.)]. JAMA: Journal of the American Medical Association, 290, 1386-1387.
261. Simonton, D. K. (2003o). Scientific creativity as constrained stochastic behavior: The integration of product, process, and person perspectives. Psychological Bulletin, 129, 475-494.
Psychologists have primarily investigated scientific creativity from 2 contrasting in vitro perspectives: correlational studies of the creative person and experimental studies of the creative process. Here the same phenomenon is scrutinized using a 3rd, in vivo perspective, namely, the actual creative products that emerge from individual scientific careers and communities of creative scientists. This behavioral analysis supports the inference that scientific creativity constitutes a form of constrained stochastic behavior. That is, it can be accurately modeled as a quasi-random combinatorial process. Key findings from both correlational and experimental research traditions corroborate this conclusion. The author closes the article by arguing that all 3 perspectives – regarding the product, person, and process – must be integrated into a unified view of scientific creativity.
262. Simonton, D. K. (2003p). Thar’s gold in them thar hills! [Review of the book The eureka effect: The art and logic of breakthrough thinking, D. Perkins]. Contemporary Psychology, 48, 174-176.
Provides a review of the book “The Eureka Effect: The Art and Logic of Breakthrough Thinking” by David Perkins (2001). Although he does have criticisms, the reviewer concludes that the book is clearly, even elegantly written. It is full of provocative ideas. And it is rich in concrete examples. On some counts, “The Eureka Effect” might even be considered a superior product. It is more accessible and more concise, and yet somehow manages to cover considerable ground – a less is more tour de force. In my mind, at least, it represents Perkins’s own best work.
263. Simonton, D. K. (2004a). Adding developmental trajectories to the DMGT: Nonlinear and nonadditive genetic inheritance and expertise acquisition. High Ability Studies: A Journal on Gifted Education, 15, 155-156.
Comments on an article by Françoys Gagné on the Differentiated Model of Giftedness and Talent (DMGT). Gagné has offered a most impressive synthesis of the developmental literature regarding the giftedness and talent. Given the comprehensiveness of the treatment, it would seem difficult that any commentator would be able to do anything more that tinker with some tangential feature of the model. Nonetheless, I would like to suggest that in future, elaborations of the model should be devoted to the specification of developmental trajectories-how participating factors, components and processes change over time. Especially crucial would be the explicit recognition that these trajectories may assume a far more complex form than specified in unidimensional and monotonic maturation models. Two examples are provided.
264. Simonton, D. K. (2004b). The “Best Actress” paradox: Outstanding feature films versus exceptional performances by women. Sex Roles, 50, 781-794.
On the basis of prior research on acting careers, it was hypothesized that exceptional women’s performances are less likely to be associated with outstanding feature films than is the case for men. This hypothesis was tested in 2 studies. In Study 1, 2,157 films that received Oscar nominations or awards between 1936 and 2000 were examined, whereas in Study 2, I scrutinized 1,367 films that received awards or award nominations from 7 major professional, journalistic, and critical associations from 1968 to 2000. In both studies, a significant gender discrepancy was found, a differential that persisted after the introduction of a large number of statistical controls and that showed no tendency to diminish over time. The results are discussed in terms of possible explanations and directions for future research.
265. Simonton, D. K. (2004c). Creative clusters, political fragmentation, and cultural heterogeneity: An investigative journey though civilizations East and West. In P. Bernholz & R. Vaubel (Eds.), Political competition, innovation and growth in the history of Asian civilizations (pp. 39-56). Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.
266. Simonton, D. K. (2004d). Creativity [Originality, Ingenuity]. In M. E. P. Seligman & C. Peterson (Eds.), Character strengths and virtues: A handbook and classification (pp. 109-123). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association; New York: Oxford University Press.
267. Simonton, D. K. (2004e). Creativity as a constrained stochastic process. In R. J. Sternberg, E. L. Grigorenko, & J. L. Singer (Eds.), Creativity: From potential to realization (pp. 83-101). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
In this chapter the author argues that creativity necessarily involves a heavy dose of chance. The probabilistic nature of creativity is first illustrated in the two phenomena of multiple discovery and creative productivity. He then explicates the stochastic feature of creativity in terms of the creative process, person, and product. Finally, he observes that constraints are usually imposed on this stochastic behavior, constraints that are largely defined by the creative domain. These contrasts in the relative importance of stochastic processes then determine the optimal personal characteristics and backgrounds of creators for various domains. The domain-specific nature of these profiles implies that the identification of creative individuals cannot operate on a “one size fits all” principle. Instead, identification must be carefully tailored to the particular needs of each domain – especially the extent to which creativity in a given domain is highly constrained. Yet in even the most constrained creative discipline the need for stochastic creativity is not totally obliterated. A domain in which achievement left nothing to chance would not be considered a creative domain.
269. Simonton, D. K. (2004g). Does character count in the Oval Office? [Review of the book Personality, Character, & Leadership in the White House: Psychologists Assess the Presidents, S. J. Rubenzer & T. R. Faschingbauer]. PsycCRITIQUES, 49 (6).
In this text by Steven Rubenzer and Thomas Faschingbauer (2004), a modified survey-questionnaire technique was employed to determine traits of Presidents of the United States. In particular, the authors sent experts on U.S. presidents a copy of the NEO Personality Inventory. The respondents were asked to rate one or more presidents for whom they had special expertise on the items making up each of the five scales. The authors then incorporated data from other investigations. As a result, they came up with some fascinating empirical findings about how personality impacts on the presidency. The book itself consists of two major parts. Part 1 is called “Personality and the Personality” and contains chapters that outline the basic methodology and perhaps the most important empirical results. Chapter 2 has the descriptive title of “Who Are These Guys? Personality Traits of Presidents, Founding Fathers, Democrats, and Republicans.” After giving the typical profile of the U. S. presidents on the five factors and character, the authors present the actual scores that the presidents received on these assessments. The reviewer notes however, that although the volume is full of interesting results and intriguing facts, it is not without flaws, including presentation and missing information. It is also reported that the investigation itself raises some serious methodological issues. Overall however, the book still represents the most ambitious attempt to divulge the personality.
270. Simonton, D. K. (2004h). Exceptional creativity and chance: Creative thought as a stochastic combinatorial process. In L. V. Shavinina & M. Ferrari (Eds.), Beyond knowledge: Extracognitive facets in developing high ability (pp. 39-72). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
In this chapter I wish to explore the extent to which luck, both good and bad, participates in creative performance. Following definitions of these, I can show that the concepts of luck, chance, and randomness are highly descriptive of how discovery, invention, and creativity function in renowned geniuses. I begin by discussing a phenomenon that is largely confined to scientific and technological creativity – when two or more scientists or inventors independently make the same discovery or invention. I next turn to a more general phenomenon, that of creative productivity across and within careers. Models that affirm that creativity involves the ability to generate combinations of ideas through a quasi-random process will explicate both phenomena. I conclude by discussing some of the principal objectives that might be raised regarding what these models imply about the creative process and person.
271. Simonton, D. K. (2004i). Film awards as indicators of cinematic creativity and achievement: A quantitative comparison of the Oscars and six alternatives. Creativity Research Journal, 16, 163-172.
Unlike most forms of artistic expression, the feature film is the collaborative product of many individuals. The comparative impact of these separate contributions was assessed in 2,323 movies nominated for Academy Awards in the major categories. Two criteria of a film?s impact were defined (best picture honors and movie guide ratings) along with 16 potential predictor variables (direction, male and female leads, male and female supporting roles, screenplay, art direction, costume design, makeup, cinematography, film editing, score, song, visual effects, sound effects editing, and sound) and 5 control variables (release date and the genre of drama, comedy, romance, and musical). Multiple regression analyses indicated that between 30% and 75% of the variance in impact could be explained using a subset of these factors.
272. Simonton, D. K. (2004j). Group artistic creativity: Creative clusters and cinematic success in 1,327 feature films. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 34, 1494-1520.
Filmmaking represents a distinctive form of group creativity in which many individuals contribute to a single creative product. This exploratory investigation examines these contributions in 1,327 English-language, narrative feature films. Besides control variables, the measures included two criteria of impact (best picture honors and movie guide ratings) and 16 assessments of outstanding cinematic contributions (direction, male and female lead, male and female supporting, screenplay, art direction, costume design, makeup, cinematography, film editing, score, song, visual effects, sound effects editing, and sound). A factor analysis showed that the contributions formed 4 creative clusters: dramatic, visual, technical, and musical. Hierarchical regression analyses indicated that a film’s impact was a positive additive function of the dramatic and visual clusters, with the dramatic having the primary role.
273. Simonton, D. K. (2004k). High-impact research programs in psychology: Quantitative and qualitative aspects. In T. C. Dalton & R. B. Evans (Eds.), The life cycle of psychological ideas: Understanding prominence and the dynamics of intellectual change (pp. 83-103). Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic.
274. Simonton, D. K. (2004l). Of old-age styles, swan songs, and winter roses [Review of the book Aging, creativity, and art: A positive perspective on late-life development, M. S. Lindauer]. PsycCRITIQUES, 49 (14).
The book consists of five parts, or a total of 17 chapters. Part 1 contains two introductory chapters making the case on behalf of late-life creativity in general and the creativity of old artists in particular. The three chapters of Part 2 discuss the two supposedly rival views of late-life creativity, namely, the decline model versus the continuity model. Part 3 encompasses five chapters that deal with the level of late-life creativity in both contemporary and historical artists. In Part 4, rather than focus on the quantity of work produced in various periods of an artist’s career, the four chapters in this section treat the qualitative features of the work produced late in life. Part 5 consists of three chapters, and the author’s attention turns to the role that the arts play in the elderly. The reviewer notes that one distinctive feature of the volume is Lindauer’s attention to humanistic perspectives on late-life development, rather than confining the discussion to scientific data and theories. However, this does not detract from a number of criticisms the reviewer has concerning the text. It is noted that the text contains many factual errors, overlooks important research, and includes inappropriate or misinterpreted statistical analyses.
275. Simonton, D. K. (2004m). Psychology’s status as a scientific discipline: Its empirical placement within an implicit hierarchy of the sciences. Review of General Psychology, 8, 59-67.
Psychology’s standing within a hypothesized hierarchy of the sciences was assessed in a 2-part analysis. First, an internally consistent composite measure was constructed from 7 primary indicators of scientific status (theories-to-laws ratio, consultation rate, obsolescence rate, graph prominence, early impact rite, peer evaluation consensus, and citation concentration). Second, this composite measure was validated through 5 secondary indicators (lecture disfluency, citation immediacy, anticipation frequency, age at receipt of Nobel Prize, and rated disciplinary hardness). Analyses showed that the measures reflected a single dimension on which 5 disciplines could be reliably ranked in the following order: physics, chemistry, biology, psychology, and sociology. Significantly, psychology placed much closer to biology than to sociology, forming a pair of life sciences clearly separated from the other sciences.
276. Simonton, D. K. (2004n). Representations and combinations: A challenge to contemporary cognitive science [Review of the book Creativity, cognition, and knowledge: An interaction, T. Dartnall Ed.]. Contemporary Psychology, 49, 489-491.
The majority of the chapters in this book deal with the general cognitive processes that might account for human creativity, at least in its more everyday forms. The chapters vary greatly in their accessibility to those unfamiliar with the corresponding research areas and also differ appreciably in what they mean by creativity. Moreover, some chapters are highly philosophical and others are more empirical. This book can either be treated as another edited volume containing many fascinating essays on some important topics in cognitive psychology, or it can be treated more holistically, as the editor intended. This is a very provocative book, rich in ideas, and definitely worth a serious read. However, until its alternative epistemology can be more fully developed, it is doubtful that cognitive psychologists are going to give up representationism or that creativity researchers are going to turn away from combinationalism. In the final analysis, the core argument about human cognition must incorporate more knowledge and display more creativity.
277. Simonton, D. K. (2004o). [Review of the book Human accomplishment: The pursuit of excellence in the arts and sciences, 800 B.C. to 1950, C. Murray]. Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, 40, 435-438.
The author’s most recent work can be considered part of this Galtonian tradition. Earlier, he had coauthored the much-discussed book “The Bell Curve,” which dealt with the implications of intelligence – normally distributed and influenced by genetic inheritance – for socioeconomic success. The present book, in conrrast, is more interested in the uppermost tail of the distribution where we find the geniuses responsible for the main accomplishmenls that define civilization. At the same time, the author goes to considerable effort to show that alternative ratings display an exceptional degree of concordance, and, hence, these evaluations represent a secure consensus. The author has some fairly forthright views on several issues that are bound to stimulate debate. Three of these views are perhaps the most conspicuous. First, on the decline of Western civilization, he concludes that creative accomplishment in the Western world is already on the wane. This conclusion is based on both quantitative data and qualitative judgments. In addition, the book is crammed with fascinating information and provocative observations.
278. Simonton, D. K. (2004p). Thematic content and political context in Shakespeare’s dramatic output, with implications for authorship and chronology controversies. Empirical Studies of the Arts, 22, 201-213.
Empirical studies of Shakespeare’s plays have usually assumed that the traditional Stratfordian chronology is basically correct. This assumption is cast in doubt by Oxfordians who claim that the plays were authored by Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford. However, prior investigations have shown that Stratfordian chronologies are more strongly supported by stylometric analyses than are Oxfordian chronologies. In this study the two authorship positions are evaluated by examining the correlation between the thematic content of the plays and the political context in which the plays would be written according to rival sets of dates. Stratfordian chronologies, when lagged just 2 years, yield substantively meaningful associations between thematic content and political context, whereas Oxfordian chronologies yield no relationships, however lagged. Hence, only the Stratfordian results are consistent with previous research indicating that artistic creativity is responsive to conspicuous political events.
279. Simonton, D. K. (2005a). Are developmental psychologists ready for this creative development? [Review of the book Creativity and development, R. K. Sawyer, V. J. Steiner, S. Moran, R. J. Sternberg, D. H. Feldman, J. Nakamura, & M. Csikszentmihalyi]. American Journal of Psychology, 118, 645-649.
280. Simonton, D. K. (2005b, June 1). Are genius and madness related? Contemporary answers to an ancient question. Psychiatric Times, 22 (7), 21-23.
Ever since antiquity, thinkers have associated creativity with psychopathology – the classic idea of the “mad genius.” By looking at historiometric, psychiatric and psychometric research one can conclude that exceptional creativity is often linked with certain symptoms of psychopathology. Nevertheless, this relationship is not equivalent to the claim that creative individuals necessarily suffer from psychopathology.
281. Simonton, D. K. (2005c). Cinematic creativity and production budgets: Does money make the movie? Journal of Creative Behavior, 39, 1-15.
Although filmmaking requires substantial capital investment, it is not known whether cinematic creativity is positively correlated with the size of the film’s budget. Therefore, budgetary impact was investigated in a sample of feature films released between 1997 and 2001. Although production costs were positively related to box office success (as measured by both first weekend and gross), such expenditures had no correlation with best picture awards and were negatively correlated with critical acclaim (as gauged by both film reviews and movie guide ratings). These divergent consequences could be partly interpreted in terms of how the budget and success criteria differentially correlated with what have been identified as the four creative clusters of filmmaking, namely, the dramatic, visual, technical, and musical.
283. Simonton, D. K. (2005e). Creativity in psychology: On becoming and being a great psychologist. In J. C. Kaufman & J. Baer (Eds.), Faces of the muse: How people think, work, and act creatively in diverse domains (pp. 139-151). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
In this chapter, the author discusses how creativity in psychology is both similar to and very unlike creativity in other domains, and suggests that even among creative psychologists there is great diversity. He shows that most great psychologists have personality traits that cluster at one of two very distinct poles, with experimental psychologists tending to be similar to creators in the natural sciences and correlational/humanistic psychologists tending to have personality profiles that are similar to creators in artistic fields.
284. Simonton, D. K. (2005f). Darwin as straw man: Dasgupta’s (2004) evaluation of creativity as a Darwinian process. Creativity Research Journal, 17, 299-208.
Dasgupta (2004) challenged Darwinian theories of creativity by scrutinizing three historic episodes drawn from the careers of James Watt, Jadadis Chandra Bose, and Pablo Picasso. However, in the current article I present counterarguments based on a critical consideration of scholarship, theory, logic, and data. By all four standards, the anti-Darwinian argument is considerably undermined. In particular, (a) Dasgupta’s presentation did not reflect the most recent Darwinian scholarship and therefore (b) the theory evaluated is one not advocated by any modern proponent. Moreover, the supposed test (c) requires the application of an inappropriate falsifiability criterion and (d) depends on a questionable interpretation of data – data that may not even be the most germane to the theory’s empirical evaluation. I end by discussing the broader problems faced by anyone advocating Darwinist theories of creativity.
285. Simonton, D. K. (2005g). Film as art versus film as business: Differential correlates of screenplay characteristics. Empirical Studies of the Arts, 23, 93-117.
This investigation determined whether certain screenplay features can differentiate films directed toward artistic expression from those aimed at financial gain. The sample consisted of 1436 English-language, narrative films released between 1968 and 2002. The variables included 4 economic indicators, 5 movie award assessments, 2 composite critical evaluations, and 24 screenplay characteristics. A subset of those characteristics distinguished film as art from film as business. In particular, the two types could be distinguished according to the impact of sequels, adaptations (e.g., from plays), writer-directors (or “Auteurs”), genre (viz. dramas), and MPAA ratings (especially Restricted). These contrasts help explain why budget and box office variables fail to correlate with the most important movie awards and are even negatively correlated with critical acclaim.
286. Simonton, D. K. (2005h). Genetics of giftedness: The implications of an emergenic-epigenetic model. In R. J. Sternberg & J. Davidson (Eds.), Conceptions of giftedness (2nd ed., pp. 312-326). New York: Cambridge University Press.
287. Simonton, D. K. (2005i). Giftedness and genetics: The emergenic-epigenetic model and its implications. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 28, 270-286.
The genetic endowment underlying giftedness may operate in a far more complex manner than often expressed in most theoretical accounts of the phenomenon. First, endowment may be emergenic. That is, a gift may consist of multiple traits (multidimensional) that are inherited in a multiplicative (configurational) rather than an additive (simple) fashion. Second, endowment may not appear all at once but rather will more likely unfold via an epigenetic process. These two complications have consequences regarding such aspects of giftedness as the likelihood of early signs, the appearance of early- versus late-bloomers, the distribution of giftedness in the general population, and the stability and continuity of gifts over the course of childhood and adolescence. These complexities lead to a fourfold typology of giftedness that has important practical implications.
288. Simonton, D. K. (2005j). The manifest destiny of the hypomanic immigrant [Review of the book The hypomanic edge: The link between (a little) craziness and (a lot of) success in America, J. D. Gartner]. PsycCRITIQUES, 50 (22).
One of the oldest issues in intellectual history is the relation between genius and madness. In Gartner’s book, high achievement is ascribed to an affective disorder. The author proposes a threefold thesis for this tendency. First, the key disorder is hypomania, a subclinical form of mania. Hypomania can be a tremendous asset insofar as it supports the ideational fluency, optimism, energy, and sometimes irrational determination necessary for extraordinary achievement. Second, this “hypomanic edge” is not the exclusive property of artistic creators but rather has also been a prominent attribute of the major leaders of history. Third, the United States of America has become a great power largely because it attracts hypomanic immigrants to its shores – newcomers who have what it takes to achieve supreme success. The reviewer offers, in an effort to make the reader able to appreciate Gartner’s contribution, an overview of the book’s contents and a critique of its thesis.
289. Simonton, D. K. (2005k). Putting the gift back into giftedness: The genetics of talent development. Gifted and Talented International, 21 (1), 15-18.
Although giftedness and talent are semantically linked to genetic endowment, some psychologists have questioned whether innate gifts really exist. Instead, these researchers argue that so-called giftedness or talent merely involves the acquisition of domain-specific expertise by means of deliberate practice. However, these arguments are deficient because they (a) exaggerate the empirical support for the extreme nurture position and (b) overlook the empirical evidence on behalf of a moderate nature position. Hence, a comprehensive understanding of giftedness and talent – upon which gifted education must be based – requires a more finely nuanced appreciation of the relative contributions of genes and the environment. This appreciation necessarily includes recognition that giftedness and talent do include genetic gifts.
290. Simonton, D. K. (2005l). Rejoinder to Response of Steven J. Rubenzer and Thomas R. Faschingbauer to “Does Character Count in the Oval Office”? PsycCRITIQUES, 50 (32).
Replies to the comments of S. J. Rubenzer and T. R. Faschingbauer on D. K. Simonton’s review of their book Personality, Character, and Leadership in the White House: Psychologists Assess the Presidents. Simonton asserts that while the NEO personality ratings were not the only data, that scores on the Big Five dominate the presentation and analysis and that Rubenzer and Faschingbauer did not respond to his concern about overlooked research. Simonton’s concern regarding different raters for different Presidents is more than possible ideological bias but whether the biographers gravitate to particular subjects for reasons other than political affiliation. Finally, from a scientific perspective, we should desire a more complete understanding of the causal processes involved, such as a careful distinction between direct and indirect effects.
292. Simonton, D. K., & Baumeister, R. F. (2005). Positive psychology at the summit. Review of General Psychology, 9, 99-102.
Psychology has traditionally placed more emphasis on the negative than positive aspects of human behavior. The Positive Psychology movement, since its beginnings in 1999, has made major advances toward correcting this imbalance. Research inspired by the movement now spans an impressive range of topics, including many that are absolutely essential to a comprehensive psychological understanding of human nature. The present special issue provides a sampling of some of the best work in the area. All but the first and last articles come from presentations at the Second International Positive Psychology Summit held in 2003 in Washington DC. This sample can be supplemented by the chapters that have appeared in several recent anthologies of contemporary research.
293. Simonton, D. K. (2006a). Beauty and the beast [Review of the book Neuropsychology of art: Neurological, cognitive and evolutionary perspectives, D. W. Zaidel]. PsycCRITIQUES, 51 (10).
The book begins with a brief and perfunctory series preface, followed by a far more substantial preface by the author. It contains an overview of the topic and a specification of what she will and will not discuss in the book. On the neuropsychology side, she will pay special attention to the effects of brain damage on artistic creativity, with some subsidiary attention to autistic savants and dementia patients. Of particular interest is the localization of brain function, including hemispheric differentiation. On the art side, she makes it clear that the focus will be on the visual and musical arts, with an emphasis on the first. This book is crammed with useful facts and insightful speculations. The reviewer personally learned a lot about neuropsychology – especially about the adverse effects of particular brain injuries and dysfunctions. Moreover, the author has done a reasonable job of organizing the material and communicating that material in a fashion accessible to a broad audience. As a result, the reviewer can recommend this volume to anyone who is interested in the interface between neuropsychology and art.
294. Simonton, D. K. (2006b). Cinematic artifice sans psyche [Review of the motion picture The Da Vinci Code, directed by R. Howard]. PsycCRITIQUES, 51 (34).
Because The Da Vinci Code is directly adapted from Dan Brown’s popular book by the same name, many readers of this review will already know that this film is not really about Leonardo da Vinci, the artistic genius of the Italian Renaissance. Instead, Leonardo posthumously provides a set of props for a murder mystery. The reviewer states he can much more easily review this film as a critic than as a psychologist. That is because anything of psychological interest is not very interesting psychologically. For instance, although Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) is claustrophobic, the film does not examine this condition with any sophistication or insight. Rather, the origins and manifestations of claustrophobia are treated with just enough superficiality to justify certain lines of dialogue. Another example is the representation of problem-solving behavior. In two crucial spots in the plot, Langdon is called on to perform major acts of decipherment. The first time is with respect to the anagrams left by the curator, and the second is with respect to the cryptex. In both cases he supposedly takes advantage of his unusual eidetic memory. The main psychological experience in this film is déjà vu: These episodes are strikingly similar to the scenes in A Beautiful Mind (Howard, 2001) in which mathematician John Nash comes up with his creative (and crazy) ideas. This similarity is no accident. Not only did Ron Howard direct both movies, but Akiva Goldsman wrote both screenplays. Any psychologist would also experience disappointment regarding the motives of the main characters. They all seem to possess cardboard personalities designed to fill particular slots in the plot development. But an even more fundamental problem involves the premise behind the whole film – and here the reviewer may be guilty of inserting a spoiler. This is the supposed top secret that all members of the Priory of Sion must protect and that all members of Opus Dei must destroy forever. The secret is the “fact” that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene and that they had a child together. Perhaps the book provides more justification for why this information would be so earthshaking, but the film certainly does not succeed. Biblical prophecies did not require that the Messiah be celibate (and can most likely be construed to foretell that he would found a new Davidian line of kings). Nor would the divinity of Jesus have been seriously compromised had he fathered a child, especially not in the context of Greco-Roman and Middle Eastern civilizations. Even the great Zeus impregnated more than his proper share of mortal women. More important, religion and procreation are not psychological misfits. Many faiths, such as certain sects in Hinduism and Buddhism, argue for an intimate relation between the two aspects of the human psyche. The Prophet Mohammed, the founder of the Islamic religion, had several wives and numerous children. Although Martin Luther was originally a monk, shortly after launching the Protestant movement, he married an ex-nun. Spirituality and sexuality are not inherently antithetical, psychologically or historically. Accordingly, the reviewer failed to understand why the postulated mystery should motivate murder. The reviewer concludes that in a nutshell, whatever its cinematic merits or demerits, The Da Vinci Code will never provide provocative film clips for use in psychology lectures or discussion sections. It is, quite literally, mindless entertainment.
295. Simonton, D. K. (2006c). Cinematic creativity and aesthetics: Empirical analyses of movie awards. In P. Locher, C. Martindale, & L. Dorfman (Eds.), New directions in aesthetics, creativity, and the arts (pp. 123-136). Amityville, NY: Baywood Publishing.
In this chapter I plan to illustrate an analytical strategy that enables the investigator to examine hundreds, even thousands of films. Besides studying feature-length films in their entirety, the approach permits the simultaneous examination of all the major contributions to a film’s cinematic success. To be specific, the methodological approach takes advantage of the rich amount of raw data already available in archival sources, whether paper or electronic. The illustrations will entail four published investigations: (a) film awards and critical acclaim, (b) creative clusters in cinematic art, (c) budget, box office, and aesthetic success, and (d) gender differences in acting contributions. Because these four studies do not answer all of the questions that might be entertained regarding cinematic creativity and aesthetics, I end this chapter with a brief discussion of other questions that can be addressed using the suggested research strategy.
296. Simonton, D. K. (2006d). Creative genius, knowledge, and reason: The lives and works of eminent creators. In J. C. Kaufman & J. Baer (Eds), Creativity and reason in cognitive development (pp. 43-59). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
297. Simonton, D. K. (2006e). Creativity around the world in 80 ways … but with one destination. In J. C. Kaufman & R. J. Sternberg (Eds.), International handbook of creativity research (pp. 490-496). New York: Cambridge University Press.
298. Simonton, D. K. (2006f). Creativity in Creating Minds: A retrospective evaluation. In J. A. Schaler (Ed.), Howard Gardner under fire: A rebel psychologist faces his critics (pp. 143-168). Chicago: Open Court.
299. Simonton, D. K. (2006g). Creativity in the cortex [Review of the book The creating brain: The neuroscience of genius, N. C. Andreasen]. PsycCRITIQUES, 51 (38).
This book has many positive features. It is replete with clear black-and-white photographs of geniuses and their creations. It also is graced with many direct quotations from great poems-indeed, a poem opens every chapter. At the same time, the book contains numerous instructive figures, tables, and brain scans (albeit none of the geniuses). Hence, a reader casually flipping through the pages would certainly feel that the volume is about the neuroscience of genius. Better yet, the text is extremely well written. Andreasen probably writes better than most psychiatrists, and even better than most former professors of Renaissance literature. She seems to have a very sharp intellect and an attractive personality that makes her writing a pleasure to read from beginning to end. All that said, I felt somewhat disappointed after my reading was complete. And the more I reflected on what I read, the greater that disappointment became. Some of my discontentment came from what some might consider relatively trivial matters. For instance, the book does not use any of the expected paraphernalia of scholarship, whether citations, footnotes, or endnotes. As a consequence, the origins of many of her assertions cannot be determined. Accordingly, the reader has no way of going to the original articles or books to find additional information about the reported findings. My biggest disappointment, however, was where I least expected trouble: Andreasen’s treatment of neuroscience. For the most part, the book consists of two disconnected discussions: creativity on the one hand and the brain on the other. With the exception of the research on psychopathology, the two topics are seldom interlinked even when potential linkages are available in the literature. So my final assessment is this: Although the book is a delight to read, we still must wait for a comprehensive treatment of the neuroscience of creative genius. Perhaps Andreasen should consider writing a second edition.
300. Simonton, D. K. (2006h). Historiometric methods. In K. A. Ericsson, N. Charness, P. J. Feltovich, & R. R. Hoffman (Eds.), The Cambridge handbook of expertise and expert performance (pp. 319-335). New York: Cambridge University Press.
301. Simonton, D. K. (2006i). Origins of genius [Review of the book From such simple a beginning: The four great books of Charles Darwin, E. O. Wilson Ed.]. PsycCRITIQUES, 51 (15).
This book should catch the eye of any scientific psychologist. The volume contains Darwin’s four most pathbreaking contributions: On the Origin of Species, The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex, The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, and The Voyage of the Beagle. Besides Darwin’s own words, the volume contains the thoughts of Edward O. Wilson, certainly one of the greatest living evolutionary thinkers. Wilson begins with a general introduction, then adds a specific introduction at the beginning of each of the four books, and then concludes the whole anthology with an afterword that devotes some thought to the relation between evolution and religion. Wilson clearly aimed the introductions and afterword at a general audience. For those who are already familiar with Darwin and evolutionary theory, the editor offers no novel insights. However, the book is attractively produced and priced. Hence, I strongly recommend the volume for anyone who does not already have the four works on his or her bookshelf. Few volumes published today contain so many great ideas in so little space and with such minimal cost.
302. Simonton, D. K. (2006j). Nothing more than a university professor engaged in teaching, research, and service: Nor less. In J. G. Irons, B. C. Beins, C. Burke, B. Buskist, V. Hevern, & J. E. Williams (Eds.), The teaching of psychology in autobiography: Perspectives from psychology’s exemplary teachers (Vol. 2, pp. 85-91). Washington, DC: Society for the Teaching of Psychology, American Psychological Association.
303. Simonton, D. K. (2006k). Presidential IQ, Openness, Intellectual Brilliance, and leadership: Estimates and correlations for 42 US chief executives. Political Psychology, 27, 511-639.
Individual differences in intelligence are consistently associated with leader performance, including the assessed performance of presidents of the United States. Given this empirical significance, IQ scores were estimated for all 42 chief executives from Washington to G. W. Bush. The scores were obtained by applying missing-values estimation methods (expectation-maximization) to published assessments of (a) IQ (Cox, 1926; n = 8), (b) Intellectual Brilliance (Simonton, 1986c; n = 39), and (c) Openness to Experience (Rubenzer & Faschingbauer, 2004; n = 32). The resulting scores were then shown to correlate with evaluations of presidential leadership performance. The implications for George W. Bush and his presidency were then discussed.
304. Simonton, D. K. (2006l). [Review of the book Investigative pathways: Patterns and stages in the careers of experimental scientists, F. L. Holmes]. Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, 61, 109-111.
305. Simonton, D. K. (2006m). Scientific status of disciplines, individuals, and ideas: Empirical analyses of the potential impact of theory. Review of General Psychology, 10, 98-112.
The place of theory in scientific research can be subjected to empirical investigation. This possibility is illustrated by examining three issues. First, what determines a scientific discipline’s placement in a hypothesized hierarchy of the sciences? This was addressed in an analysis of the characteristics that distinguish various disciplines, including attributes bearing an explicit connection to the role of theory. Second, what individual research programs are most likely to have a long-term impact on a scientific discipline? This was examined by looking at how thematic organization and theoretical orientation influence a scientist’s disciplinary visibility. Third, what are the features of scientific publications that render some more successful in terms of long-term influence? This question was addressed by examining how theoretical content determines the impact of journal articles.
306. Simonton, D. K. (2006n). The Tower of Babel undone. [Review of the book Empires of the word: A language history of the world, N. Ostler]. PsycCRITIQUES, 51 (21).
This book is not a psycholinguistic analysis but rather a historical survey of the factors that are responsible for some languages becoming widely spoken. Part 1 consists of two chapters that discuss the nature of language history. Here the author introduces some of the processes – such as population growth, diffusion, conquest, and migration – that figure prominently throughout the remainder of the book. Part 2 then devotes six chapters to languages that had spread “by land.” This presentation is followed by Part 3, which discusses a more recent development – languages that spread “by sea” and thus formed noncontiguous communities. Part 4 has two chapters on the present and future of the world languages, with special attention to the “current top 20.” The text is also illustrated throughout with 66 maps, 2 tables, and 12 figures. In addition, the book features an index in which the world’s major languages are put in boldface to make it easier for the curious reader to seek them out. The reviewer notes that the maps are sometimes confusing, and the author sometimes overlooks empirical research that might have shed light on certain topics. Nonetheless, the reviewer states that the author does an excellent job of presenting various theories and disproving them one by one. He is also willing to put forth his own hypotheses about the factors that determine the differential success of languages on the world stage.
308. Simonton, D. K. (2007b). But is truth beautiful, or beauty symmetric? [Review of the book Why beauty is truth: A history of symmetry, I. Stewart]. PsycCRITIQUES, 52 (52).
The book is organized as a series of historical narratives; each chapter is devoted to a particular big name in the history of symmetry. The book’s historical narrative spans a tremendous range of topics: quadratic, cubic, quartic, and quintic equations; regular polygons; Fermat’s Last Theorem; non-Euclidean geometry; imaginary and complex numbers; quaternions and octonions; transcendental numbers; group theory; the Fano plane; topology; Maxwell’s equations; quantum mechanics; antimatter; the special and general theories of relativity; cosmology; string theory and superstring theory, and loop quantum gravity. The reviewer greatly enjoyed the book but criticized the author’s attempt to combine the history of ideas with the intimate biographies of those who have contributed those ideas, believing that this was too much of a distraction. Another, more serious problem, was that the reviewer lost the overall thread in the author’s thesis, with large sections of the book lacking any explicit reference to the core theme. Finally, the reviewer laments that the author never truly grapples with the various forms that beauty may take, and that symmetry is only one form.
310. Simonton, D. K. (2007d). Cinema composers: Career trajectories for creative productivity in film music. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 1, 160-169.
It was hypothesized that film composers, like classical composers, have career trajectories that are endogenously rather than exogenously driven (i.e., contingent on internal processes rather than external influences). Study 1 examined 153 composers who composed original film music or music adapted later for film. The correlations among the number of total hits and the ages at first hit, best hit, and last hit followed the same pattern as found for classical composers. Study 2 concentrated on a subset of 78 composers who were nominees or awardees for best score or song from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The analyses indicated the same predicted configuration of correlations among the number of total nominations and the ages at first nomination, first award, last award, and last nomination. Furthermore, the longitudinal placement of the career landmarks corresponded closely across the two studies: first hit with first nomination, best hit with first award, and last hit with last award. The endogenous determination of the career course helps explain the poor association between exceptional film music and the corresponding film’s cinematic success.
311. Simonton, D. K. (2007e). Creative life cycles in literature: Poets versus novelists or conceptualists versus experimentalists’ Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 1, 133-139.
The economist Galenson (2005) proposed a theory of creative life cycles that distinguishes between early-peaking conceptual creators (finders) and late-peaking experimental creators (seekers). This contrast is claimed to invalidate previous research findings that poets tend to peak earlier than novelists. However, a multiple regression analysis of his published data on 23 creative writers shows that the poetry-novel genre contrast makes a contribution to the prediction of the career trajectory that is orthogonal to the conceptual-experimental contrast. The result is a fourfold typology of creative life cycles: conceptual poets, conceptual novelists, experimental poets, and experimental novelists who do their best work at ages 28, 34, 38, and 44, respectively. The article closes with a discussion of additional empirical and theoretical issues.
312. Simonton, D. K. (2007f). The creative process in Picasso’s Guernica sketches: Monotonic improvements or nonmonotonic variants’ Creativity Research Journal, 19, 329-344.
A controversy has emerged over whether Picasso’s sketches for Guernica illustrate a Darwinian process of blind-variation and selective-retention (i.e., nonmonotonic variants) rather than a more systematic, expertise-driven process (i.e., monotonic improvements). This issue is objectively addressed by having judges (1 pro-Darwinian, 2 anti-Darwinian, and 2 neutral) rank the figural components according to their perceived progress toward the final version of the painting. Besides strongly agreeing on the perceived order (composite progress score alpha = .85), the independent judges concurred that this order was conspicuously nonmonotonic, with minimal tendency to converge on the end result. These conclusions held not only for the sketches as a whole, but also for the sequence of sketches for the separate figural elements of the painting. Hence, Picasso’s creative process is best described as producing blind nonmonotonic variants rather than expert monotonic improvements. The general method used in this study can be extended to other documentary evidence – such as musical sketches, literary drafts, and laboratory notebooks – to determine the extent to which creativity operates in a Darwinian manner.
315. Simonton, D. K. (2007i). Creativity: Specialized expertise or general cognitive processes? In M. J. Roberts (Ed.), Integrating the mind: Domain general versus domain specific processes in higher cognition (pp. 351-367). Hove, UK: Psychology Press.
316. Simonton, D. K. (2007j). Don’t worry, be high in subjective well being! [Review of the documentary short How Happy Can You Be?, directed by L. Hatland]. PsycCRITIQUES, 52 (18).
Researchers associated with the positive psychology movement study not just special virtues and talents but also the psychological quality of our everyday lives. Perhaps the most important of these qualities is happiness, or what researchers are more likely to refer to as subjective well-being, a more scientific-sounding term. Hence, many positive psychologists have tried to tease out the causes of human happiness. Why are some people seemingly happier than others? Why do some nations seem to be filled with happy people whereas other nations appear to be populated by far more discontented folk? Does money buy happiness? Is there anything we can do to enhance our own subjective well-being? Should we really want to do so? Does happiness live up to all the hype? Might not mere contentment have its advantages? Is there a downside to never being down? These are the kinds of questions addressed by Line Hatland in her fascinating documentary How happy can you be?. Given the nature of the topic, this product might be considered as falling under the genre of an educational video designed for classroom use. Yet this documentary also has the attributes of a standard film designed for broader distribution.
317. Simonton, D. K. (2007k). Film music: Are award-winning scores and songs heard in successful motion pictures? Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 1, 53-60.
Using a sample of 401 feature-length narrative films released between 1998 and 2003, the current study examines whether award-winning film music is more likely to appear in successful films. Film success was measured using two measures of critical evaluations, a composite measure of best picture awards and nominations, and box office gross, whereas the success of the film music was gauged by the number of awards and award nominations received. In addition, control variables were defined for production costs, release date, release season, runtime, MPAA rating, and genre (drama, comedy, romance, musical, animation, and foreign-language). Although music awards and nominations were positively correlated with film success, the score rather than song was primarily responsible for the relationship. Moreover, after introducing the control variables, song awards had no relation whatsoever, whereas score awards were still positively associated with the film success as measured by best-picture nominations and awards.
318. Simonton, D. K. (2007l). The forward march of psychological science and practice. [Review of the book Portraits of pioneers of psychology, D. A. Dewsbury, L. T. Benjamin, & M. Wertheimer (Eds.)]. PsycCRITIQUES, 52 (5).
This book is the sixth in a series that began in 1991. Wertheimer was involved in editing all six volumes, and Kimble, on the first five. As is noted in the book’s preface, the goal of the series is to “provide a set of chapters about both the scholarly and personal lives of psychologists who have made significant contributions to the development of the field” (p. ix). The earlier volumes contain chapters devoted to the lives and works of some of the greatest names in the history of psychology. As the editors note, “This volume is a bit of a departure from previous ones in that we have concentrated more on authors who have made substantial contributions to the field of the history of psychology” (p. x). Moreover, despite the greater historical expertise of the solicited writers, every chapter is extremely readable. All of the chapters – but especially those about the less well-known figures – should be of interest to historians of psychology, including those who teach the subject at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
320. Simonton, D. K. (2007n). Is bad art the opposite of good art? Positive versus negative cinematic assessments of 877 feature films. Empirical Studies of the Arts, 25, 121-143.
Although some research suggests that negative judgments might be more complex and more potent than positive judgments, cinematic assessments may offer an instance of a genuine bipolar evaluative dimension. This is shown in an analysis of 877 feature films that received positive (Oscars) or negative (Razzie) recognition in the categories of best/worst picture, director, male and female lead, male and female supporting actor, screenplay, and original song (whether nomination or actual award). These assessments were compared with film critic evaluations, financial and box office data, and several relevant cinematic attributes (e.g., literary adaptations, writer-directors, biopics, sequels, remakes, film genres, runtime, and MPAA ratings). Analyses indicated that negative assessments were largely the inverse of positive assessments, with similar weights being assigned to most cinematic attributes. However, the negative judgments were somewhat less consequential regarding those same attributes.
321. Simonton, D. K. (2007o). Picasso’s Guernica creativity as a Darwinian process: Definitions, clarifications, misconceptions, and applications. Creativity Research Journal, 19, 381-384.
The author responds to four commentaries on Simonton (2007e). The response deals with two sets of issues. First are criticisms of the Darwinian theory of creativity, especially as applied to Picasso’s sketches for the Guernica. These criticisms range from the presumed role of associative processes to the essential nature of any Darwinian model. The second set of issues pertains to diverse methodological objections with respect to measurement and data analysis. The author responds to each and every point. The author concludes not only that Picasso’s creative process is best described as Darwinian, but also that the Darwinian theory of creativity has been notably strengthened by the current exchange.
323. Simonton, D. K. (2007q). Psychology’s limits as a scientific discipline: A personal view. Applied & Preventive Psychology: Current Scientific Perspectives, 12, 35-36.
I provided a more personal view of Wachtel’s (1980) article. I began by discussing the extent to which my own research program complied with his distinctive recommendations. After offering a different take on the impact of high productivity, I focused on (a) the negative effects of the quest for extramural funding and (b) the positive effects of a better balance between theoretical and empirical contributions. I then turn to some of my own theoretical and empirical studies of the place that theory has in successful science. This research suggests that theory only has a beneficial effect when it is integrative in function and when it is closely constrained by available data. I end with a speculation regarding the value of having theories that are maximally formal, even mathematical.
324. Simonton, D. K. (2007r). [Review of the book Creativity: Theories and themes: Research, development, and practice, Mark A. Runco]. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 1, 251-252.
Reviews the book, Creativity: Theories and themes: Research, development, and practice by Mark A. Runco. This book consists of 11 chapters with the following titles: “Cognition and Creativity,” “Developmental Trends and Influences on Creativity,” “Biological Perspectives on Creativity,” “Health and Clinical Perspectives,” “Social, Attributional, and Organizational Perspectives,” “Educational Perspectives,” “History and Historiometry,” “Culture and Creativity,” “Personality and Motivation,” “Enhancement and the Fulfillment of Potential,” and “Conclusion: What Creativity Is and What It Is Not.” Beyond this all-encompassing content, the volume is crammed with illustrations and with all those “boxes” that are so characteristic of introductory textbooks in psychology. Each chapter also begins with appropriate quotations and a didactic “Advanced Organizer.” Finally, Runco closes with 63 pages of references and a 15-page subject index. The reviewer has one major complaint: Runco seems to have adopted an “open the floodgates” approach that sometimes results in the almost willy nilly insertion of ideas and material. One consequence of this tendency is that the illustrations and boxes are at times less useful than they ought to be. Another repercussion of Runco’s leave-nothing-out approach is that it occasionally leads to the presentation of ideas with minimal if any discussion or commentary. The reviewer does assert though, that for someone in the market for a text for use in an introductory creativity course, a book that is wide-ranging and most current, Runco’s Creativity is a good choice.
328. Song, A. V., & Simonton, D. K. (2007). Personality assessment at a distance: Quantitative methods. In R. W. Robins, R. C. Fraley, & R. F. Krueger (Eds.), Handbook of research methods in personality psychology (pp. 308-321). New York: Guilford Press.
329. Nielsen, B. D., Pickett, C. L., & Simonton, D. K. (2008). Conceptual versus experimental creativity: Which works best on convergent and divergent thinking tasks? Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 2, 131-138.
Galenson’s research on creativity has identified two unique creative methods: conceptual and experimental. These methods have different processes, goals, purposes and strategies for innovation. In order to determine (a) if college students use one method more than the other, and (b) if one method is superior to the other, 115 college students were randomly assigned to utilize the conceptual creative method, the experimental creative method, or their own creative method (i.e., how they would solve a creative problem without instruction) while completing two types of convergent and divergent thinking tasks. Participants using the experimental creative method performed better on both types of convergent thinking tasks and most participants using the experimental creative method were unaware of this increase in performance.
330. Pardoe, I., & Simonton, D. K. (2008). Applying discrete choice models to predict Academy Award winners. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series A (Statistics in Society), 171, 375-394.
Every year since 1928, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has recognized outstanding achievement in film with their prestigious Academy Award, or Oscar. Before the winners in various categories are announced, there is intense media and public interest in predicting who will come away from the awards ceremony with an Oscar statuette. There are no end of theories about which nominees are most likely to win, yet despite this, there continue to be major surprises when the winners are announced. This article frames the question of predicting the four major awards – picture, director, actor in a leading role, actress in a leading role – as a discrete choice problem. It is then possible to predict the winners in these four categories with a reasonable degree of success. The analysis also reveals which past results might be considered truly surprising – nominees with low estimated probability of winning who have overcome nominees who were strongly favored to win.
332. Simonton, D. K. (2008b). Childhood giftedness and adulthood genius: A historiometric analysis of 291 eminent African Americans. Gifted Child Quarterly, 52, 243-255.
Although the association between giftedness and genius has been the subject of several retrospective, longitudinal, and historiometric studies, this research concentrated on majority-culture samples. Hence, in the current study Cox’s (1926) findings regarding 301 geniuses were replicated on a sample of 291 eminent African Americans. Relative genius was measured by two archival eminence measures (majority White and minority Black culture) and by scores on the Creative Achievement Scale (Ludwig, 1992). Giftedness was assessed by raters who were blind to the identity of the individuals being evaluated. Control variables were defined for gender, year of birth, status as a living contemporary, and 18 domains of achievement. Multiple regression analyses indicated that adulthood eminence and creative achievement are positively correlated with early giftedness, with an effect size comparable to that found in the Cox study. Furthermore, this association was not moderated by gender, birth year, and most of the remaining variables.
334. Simonton, D. K. (2008d). Creative wisdom: Similarities, contrasts, integration, and application. In A. Craft, H. Gardner, & G. Claxton (Eds.), Creativity, wisdom, and trusteeship: Exploring the role of education (pp. 68-76). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
336. Simonton, D. K. (2008f). Gender differences in birth order and family size among 186 eminent psychologists. Journal of Psychology of Science and Technology, 1, 15-22.
Ever since Galton (1874) research has indicated that earlier born children are overrepresented among distinguished scientists, even after controlling for family size. Other studies imply that the developmental asset of an early ordinal position could be even stronger for eminent women. This hypothesis was tested using a sample of illustrious psychologists born between 1802 and 1952 (112 women and 74 men). Not only did women tend to have earlier birth orders, but also the relation between family size and birth order was far weaker for women than for men. In fact, where for men birth order was a positive monotonic function of family size, for women it was a nonmonotonic single-peaked function. These gender differences were stable across historical time and survived control for differences in eminence and year of birth.
338. Simonton, D. K. (2008h). Going on living when you’re buried alive. [Review of the motion picture The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, directed by J. Schnabel]. PsycCRITIQUES, 53 (12).
Imagine you wake up and life is a blur. You realize that you’re almost totally paralyzed from head to foot and can see only the limited world around you from a single eye. People talk to you, but you cannot respond. Your ability to enter into the social exchanges that are part of everyday human life is cruelly truncated. You learn from the physician that you had a massive stroke and that you are now suffering from what is known as “locked-in syndrome.” Your intellectual and emotional capacities are untouched, but you have become pure mind sans body – with one crucial exception. You can move one eyelid. A therapist informs you that she has a system by which you can again communicate with the world. She’ll just read through a list of letters ordered according to frequency of use, and you blink when she gets to the right letter. Almost immediately you use this new-found power to tell the therapist, “I want to die.” Yet you’re encouraged to “hang on to the human who is inside you,” and you decide on a more creative and adaptive response. You’ll write a book about your new life. It is called The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. This is the life of Schnabel. His book was later turned into the film. As for the film, the reviewer will not say that the motion picture is perfect. he would give it only four stars out of five. One problem is that the filmmakers did not shy away from revealing the fact that the protagonist was not a particularly sympathetic human being prior to his stroke. At the same time, the filmmakers had no qualms about casting rather attractive women as his caretakers. So at times his empathetic feelings were attenuated by the fleeting thought that this guy was a womanizing jerk.
340. Simonton, D. K. (2008j). Practicing essential cinematic sex. [Review of the motion picture Lust, Caution, directed by A. Lee]. PsycCRITIQUES, 53 (50).
Lee is willing to take advantage of his reputation to expand the boundaries of mainstream cinema. This willingness became strikingly apparent in Brokeback Mountain, a love story about two cowboys. Although the story Lust, Caution centers on a heterosexual love affair, Lee pushes the limit in a different direction: Where Brokeback stayed within the bounds of an R-rated film, Lee thrusts this film quite emphatically into NC-17 territory. The reviewer states we have to be grateful that the director had sufficient artistic freedom to have the final word on the film’s Motion Picture Association of America rating. In my opinion, Ang Lee practiced essential cinematic sex.
341. Simonton, D. K. (2008k). Presidential greatness and its socio-psychological significance: Individual or situation? Performance or attribution? In C. Hoyt, G. R. Goethals, & D. Forsyth (Eds.), Leadership at the crossroads: Vol. 1. Psychology and leadership (pp. 132-148). Westport, CT: Praeger.
342. Simonton, D. K. (2008l). Scientific talent, training, and performance: Intellect, personality, and genetic endowment. Review of General Psychology, 12, 28-46.
Despite over a century of research, psychologists have still not established scientific talent as an empirically demonstrable phenomenon. To help solve this problem, a talent definition was first proposed that provided the basis for three quantitative estimators of criterion heritability that can be applied to meta-analytic and behavior genetic research concerning the intellectual and personality predictors of scientific training and performance. After specifying the ideal data requirements for the application of the three estimators, the procedures were applied to previously published results. Personality traits were illustrated using the California Psychological Inventory and the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire with respect to two criteria (scientists versus nonscientists and creative scientists versus less creative scientists) and intellectual traits using the Miller Analogies Test with respect to seven criteria (graduate grade point average, faculty ratings, comprehensive examination scores, degree attainment, and research productivity, etc.). The outcome provides approximate, lower-bound estimates of the genetic contribution to scientific training and performance. Subsequent discussion concerns what future research is necessary for a more complete understanding of scientific talent as an empirical phenomenon.
344. Simonton, D. K. (2008n). Willing creation. In J. Baer, J. C. Kaufman, & R. F. Baumeister (Eds.), Are we free? Psychology and free will (pp. 296-303). New York: Oxford University Press.
The chapter discusses the place of volition in the act of creation. Discussion of this issue raises something of a paradox. The human will has both a major role in creativity and a very minor role in creativity. In a sense, creative thought is a function of both active and passive processes – of yang and yin. This conclusion is apparent from research on the creative process and its relation to incubation, serendipity, chance, regression behavior genetics, psychoticism, expertise development, and multiples. The safest conclusion is simply that creativity is a complex consequence of the interaction between willful independence and will-free contingency.
345. Simonton, D. K., Moore, T. L., & Shaughnessy, M. F. (2008). A reflective conversation with Dean Keith Simonton. North American Journal of Psychology, 10, 595-602.
Presents a reflective conversation with Dean Keith Simonton. Topics of discussion in the conversation include writing, researching, historiometric inquiry, socio-cultural context of the psychology of science, personality and individual differences, and motivation.
346. Cerridwen, A., & Simonton, D. K. (2009). Sex doesn’t sell – nor impress: Content, box office, critics, and awards in mainstream cinema. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 3, 200-210.
Although it is commonly assumed that “sex sells” in mainstream cinema, recent research indicates a far more ambiguous relation between strong sexual content and financial performance. Moreover, such content may not be justified by either critical evaluations or movie awards. The literature even suggests that cinematic sex may reflect long-term gender biases in the film industry. The current study investigates these issues by addressing two questions. First, what is the impact of sex and other graphic content on the central criteria of cinematic success? Second, to what extent is such content contingent on the proportion of women engaged in filmmaking, whether as producers, directors, writers, or actors? Analyses of 914 films released between 2001 and 2005 indicated that sex and nudity do not, on the average, boost box office, earn critical acclaim, or win major awards. Although female involvement does influence a film’s content, the only impact on the presence of sex and nudity is the proportion of women who make up the cast. Notwithstanding statistical complications, the best conclusion is that graphic sex neither sells nor impresses.
347. Simonton, D. K. (2009a). Applying the psychology of science to the science of psychology: Can psychologists use psychological science to enhance psychology as a science? Perspectives on Psychological Science, 4, 2-4.
Added to the already tremendous diversity of subdisciplines of psychological science is the psychology of science. Although research on the psychology of science began in 1874, the field has seen a substantial expansion of activity in recent years. One particular subset of this research literature has special importance, namely inquiries into the psychology of doing great science. These investigations may be assigned into four groups: cognitive, differential, developmental, and social. Each of these deal with critical questions that can, if answered, contribute directly to the improvement of psychology as a science. Potential applications include (a) the identification of scientific talent in psychology, (b) the education of future investigators in psychological science, and (c) the evaluation of psychology’s progress as a scientific endeavor.
349. Simonton, D. K. (2009c). Cinema talent: Individual and collective. In L. Shavinina (Ed.), International handbook of giftedness (Part One, pp. 699-712). New York: Springer.
Cinema is an unusual form of achievement in that it involves both (a) extensive collaborative effort and (b) considerable financial resources. A series of investigations examines the operation of both these characteristics in large samples of award-winning films. These empirical studies reveal the multidimensional complexity of cinematic products and indicate the dimensions that are most critical for understanding individual contributions to the collective products. Especially crucial are those who contribute to the dramatic qualities of film, especially the screenplay and direction. Hence, future research should focus on the factors that underlie giftedness and talent in screenwriters and directors.
350. Simonton, D. K. (2009d). Cinematic success, aesthetics, and economics: An exploratory recursive model. Psychology of Creativity, Aesthetics, and the Arts, 3, 128-138.
Although the reputation of creative artists is based largely on the merit of their work, the latter can sometimes be assessed in several different ways that may not necessarily agree. This lack of evaluative consensus is perhaps most apparent in cinematic success; this can be judged by film critics (initial and final), movie awards (picture, dramatic, visual, technical, and music), and box office performance (including both first weekend and later gross). Previous research not only shows that these success criteria may not always agree, but also that the criteria may have distinct aesthetic and economic antecedents. However, because the success criteria emerge at distinct points across time, a recursive model can be developed that describes the relationships among the criteria as well as their differential dependence on the predictive factors most frequently identified in the literature. The model was constructed using a sample of 1006 English-language, live-action, feature-length narrative films released between 2000 and 2006. The resulting equations indicate the complexity of cinematic success. Nonetheless, overriding this complexity is the fundamental contrast between film as art and film as entertainment.
351. Simonton, D. K. (2009e). Cinematic success criteria and their predictors: The art and business of the film industry. Psychology and Marketing, 26, 400-420.
The author reviewed the empirical research on the factors underlying the success of feature-length narrative films. After specifying some methodological caveats, the review examined the three main criteria by which a film’s success can be evaluated: critical evaluations (both early and post theatrical run), financial performance (including first weekend and gross), and movie awards (including dramatic, visual, technical, and music categories). To what extent do these criteria represent distinct aesthetic and economic assessments? The review then turned to the various predictors of these success criteria. How is success connected with the film’s production and distribution characteristics? To what extent do the predictors converge and diverge across alternative criteria? The article then closed with a discussion of some psychological issues raised by the reviewed findings.
352. Simonton, D. K. (2009f). Controversial and volatile flicks: Contemporary consensus and temporal stability in film critic assessments. Creativity Research Journal, 21, 311-318.
Prior research has shown that the aesthetic assessments by film critics display a high level of concurrent consensus and temporal stability. However, neither the consensus nor the stability is so great as to preclude evaluative disagreements and reassessments (e.g., sleepers and faders). The present investigation was designed to identify the predictors of these concurrent and temporal departures from critical congruence. The potential predictors were variables that emerged in previous research on the determinants of cinematic creativity: (a) financial data, such as production budget and box office performance; (b) movie awards and nominations in the major categories (viz. picture and the dramatic, visual, technical, and music clusters of honors); and (c) film attributes, such as the MPAA rating, running time, and screenplay characteristics like sequels, remakes, and adaptations (from plays, novels, nonfiction, etc.). Both simultaneous and stepwise regression analyses indicated that the cinematic exceptions to critical consensus and stability were predictable. However, because the predictors only accounted for between 10 and 15% of the variance and were not the same for dissent and instability, the departures cannot be said to contaminate the critics’ evaluations in any systematic manner.
354. Simonton, D. K. (2009h). Creativity. In S. J. Lopez & C. R. Snyder (Eds.), The handbook of positive psychology (2nd ed., pp. 261-269). New York: Oxford University Press.
Because creativity is often viewed as a highly positive human capacity both at the individual and societal levels, the chapter provides an overview of what psychologists have learned about this phenomenon. After beginning with the definition of creativity in terms of adaptive originality, the review turns to how measurement depends on whether creativity is to be treated as a process, a person, or a product. The next section of the review concentrates on the principal empirical results, with special focus on the two findings that would seem to be especially germane for positive psychology, namely (a) the impact of early trauma on creative development and (b) the relation between creativity and psychopathology. This section is followed by a discussion of the two key theoretical issues that pervade research on creativity: the nature-nurture question and the small-c versus big-C creativity question. Once these empirical and theoretical matters have been discussed, the article can progress to a treatment of some practical applications. These applications concern creativity-improving techniques that can be implemented during childhood, adolescence, or adulthood. The chapter closes with a brief discussion of the most fruitful directions for future research on creativity. Despite the tremendous accumulation of knowledge about the phenomenon, a lot of unanswered questions remain.
355. Simonton, D. K. (2009i). Creativity as a Darwinian phenomenon: The blind-variation and selective-retention model. In M. Krausz, D. Dutton, & K. Bardsley (Eds.), The idea of creativity (2nd ed., pp. 63-81). Leiden, Netherlands: Brill.
Charles Darwin’s theory of biological evolution has often served as a model for human creativity. The most influential application is Donald T. Campbell’s (1960) blind-variation and selective-retention model. The BVSR model has undergone recent development into a full-fledged theoretical framework. Moreover, substantial empirical research on the creative process, the creative personality, and creative development provide support for the theory’s key claims. One special feature of the theory is that it provides a basis for ordering domains according to the degree to which creativity in those domains is dependent on BVSR processes (e.g, science < art; paradigmatic science < nonparadigmatic science; formal/classical art < expressive/romantic art). Corresponding to this placement would be expected differences in the disposition and development of the domain’s creators.
356. Simonton, D. K. (2009j). The decline and fall of musical art: What happened to classical composers? Empirical Studies of the Arts, 27, 209-216.
Martindale (2009) asserted that a dialectic conflict between novelty and intelligibility causes serious art to go into a death spiral. This assertion is examined with respect to classical music. More specifically, three questions are addressed. First, did classical music truly decline and die? Second, why did it do so? Third, where did would-be classical composers end up in the absence of classical music? It seems that the decadence is real, and that Martindale’s explanation has some merit. Even so, classical composers still exist. We just call them cinema composers. And they jumped off a sinking ship to board a luxury liner.
360. Simonton, D. K. (2009n). Giftedness: The gift that keeps on giving. In T. Balchin, B. Hymer, & D. Matthews (Eds.), The Routledge international companion to gifted education (pp. 26-31). London: Routledge.
361. Simonton, D. K. (2009o). Gifts, talents, and their societal repercussions. In L. Shavinina (Ed.), International handbook of giftedness (Part Two, pp. 905-912). New York: Springer.
There are a number of ways of justifying special programs for the gifted and talented, but certainly among the most practically important concerns the societal benefits of adulthood achievements. This justification is elaborated by considering the cross-sectional distribution of impact in various domains of achievement. Because this distribution is highly skewed, with an extremely long upper tail, a large proportion of the contributions to any domain come from a small number of contributors. This means that any failure to promote the actualization of potential of this productive elite can have consequences out of proportion to the number of individuals involved.
363. Simonton, D. K. (2009q). Historiometry in personality and social psychology. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 3, 49-63.
Historiometry is one of the oldest methods in personality and social psychology. In fact, the first professional publication in experimental social psychology also incorporated a historiometric study. The present review article begins by describing the nature of the technique with respect to unit definition and sampling, the several approaches to measuring variables, and the correlational nature of the statistical analyses. This description also pinpoints some of the unique characteristics of the approach. These attributes and other attributes are then illustrated using the historiometric research on assessed leadership of United States presidents. This research has converged on a single predictive equation that has been successfully replicated and extended over a quarter century of research. The article closes with a brief evaluation of historiometry’s future prospects in the field.
364. Simonton, D. K. (2009r). How thin is the partition? Where does it reside? [Review of the documentaries Hidden Gifts, directed by Nick Higgins, and Between Madness and Art, directed by C. Beetz]. PsycCRITIQUES, 54 (26).
The first film, Between madness and art, is a 75-min documentary devoted to the Prinzhorn Collection of drawings, paintings, and sculptures by schizophrenic patients. Dr. Hans Prinzhorn had begun collecting these works in the 1920s while he was director of the Heidelberg Psychiatric Clinic. Besides ample images taken from the collection, the documentary includes interviews with psychotherapists, artists, the current collection director, and two contemporary outpatient artists. The second film, Hidden gifts, is a concise, 25-min documentary focused on a single Scotsman named Angus MacPhee. Having been diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1946, he was sent to a psychiatric hospital, where he stayed for a half century. As a kind of protest, he adopted elective mutism, refusing to speak to any of the staff. Yet MacPhee seemed to express himself in a strikingly different way: He would go out to the nearby fields and use grass to weave various articles of clothing, such as boots, coats, and gloves. These ephemeral products of his imagination were destroyed each year by the hospital staff without his registering any complaint. Taken together, the two films raise many fascinating issues.
365. Simonton, D. K. (2009s). The literary genius of William Shakespeare: Empirical lessons drawn from his dramatic and poetic creativity. In S. B. Kaufman & J. C. Kaufman (Eds), The psychology of creative writing (pp. 131-145). New York: Cambridge University Press.
366. Simonton, D. K. (2009t). The “other IQ”: Historiometric assessments of intelligence and related constructs. Review of General Psychology, 13, 315-326.
Running parallel to mainstream research on the psychometric assessment of intelligence is another tradition of research on the historiometric assessment of intelligence and closely affiliated variables. Historiometric assessment is based on four data sources: (a) personality sketches (e.g., Intellectual Brilliance), (b) developmental histories (e.g., IQ), (c) content analyses (e.g., integrative complexity), and (d) expert surveys (e.g., Openness to Experience). The first two represent major lines of intelligence research that involved key figures in the development of corresponding psychometric methods (e.g., Galton, Terman, and Thorndike), whereas the last two constitute independent research paradigms that later intersected with the first two. The literature on US presidents then provides an integrated illustration of the four historiometric approaches and how they converge on the same broad conclusions. Significantly, historiometric investigations on the relation between broadly-defined intelligence and adulthood achievement obtain about the same effect size as found in psychometric research (i.e., rs or betas = .25 ± .10). Because historiometric and psychometric studies have rather distinctive methodological advantages and disadvantages, this consistent outcome provides corroborative support for both sets of empirical findings.
368. Simonton, D. K. (2009v). Presidential leadership styles: How do they map onto charismatic, ideological, and pragmatic leadership? In F. J. Yammarino & F. Dansereau (Eds.), Research in Multi-Level Issues: Vol. 8. Multi-level issues in organizational behavior and leadership (pp. 123-133). Bingley, UK: Emerald.
Mumford, Hunter, Friedrich, and Caughron (2009) discuss at length three generic types of extraordinary leadership: charismatic, ideological, and pragmatic. I raise the question of whether this general framework applies to more focused domains of leadership. More specifically, I discuss my own research on leadership styles in the US presidency – interpersonal, charismatic, deliberative, creative, and neurotic – and then examine whether these five styles have some correspondence to the three broad types.
369. Simonton, D. K. (2009w). Scientific creativity as a combinatorial process: The chance baseline. In P. Meusburger, J. Funke, & E. Wunder (Eds.). Milieus of creativity (pp. 39-51). Dordrecht: Springer.
The chapter puts forward the thesis that the key features of scientific creativity can be explicated in terms of combinatorial models. Such models can explain the most aspects of the phenomenon with the fewest possible assumptions, and thus satisfies the law of parsimony or Ockham’s razor. At the very minimum the models provide a baseline for comparing explanations that try to explain the same phenomena using more assumptions. The argument begins with six core assumptions that specify how combinatorial creativity operates in the context of the individual scientist, the concepts and ideas that constitute the domain, and the colleagues and associates who define the field. These six assumptions then lead to several implications with respect to (a) scientific careers (individual variation and longitudinal change in output) and (b) scientific communities (namely the central attributes of multiple discovery and invention). The theory then undergoes elaboration in terms of a more complex mathematical model that makes highly precise and empirically distinctive predictions. The chapter ends with a discussion of how the combinatorial models connect with other empirical findings regarding scientific creativity.
370. Simonton, D. K. (2009x). Shakespeare’s “small Latin and less Greek”? Scientific perspectives on education, achieved eminence, and the authorship controversy. Mensa Research Journal, 40, 22-26.
Although William Shakespeare is widely seen as one of the greatest writers in world literature, a serious debate rages about the author’s true identity. On the one hand, the traditional Stratfordians maintain that a man baptized as Shakspere wrote the plays and poems. On the other hand, the anti-Stratfordians have advocated alternative candidates such as Oxford, Marlowe, Bacon, and Neville. One of the central issues in this debate concerns the relation between education and genius. Is genius ingrained or must it be trained? To address this issue, I present a review of the most germane scientific inquiries. Even though genius in literature does not have to be associated with high levels of formal education, such achievement is correlated with extensive self education, that is, extensive reading in childhood and adolescence. These empirical results are then used to discuss the plausibility of the Stratfordian candidate. This issue needs to be resolved if we ever wish to understand other features of the author, such as this genius’s most probable IQ.
371. Simonton, D. K. (2009y). Varieties of perspectives on creativity. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 4, 466-467.
The author of the target article concentrates on two broad issues raised by the four commentaries: the hierarchical model of domains and individual differences in creativity. In the first case, additional research is cited to address (a) the contrast between “hard” and “soft” domains and (b) the application of this contrast to children, adolescents, and non-eminent adults. In the second case, two recent studies are shown to confirm the model’s predictions regarding personal creative achievement. It is hoped that the target article, the commentaries, and this reply will inspire future inquiries into creativity in all its disciplinary varieties.
372. Simonton, D. K. (2009z). Varieties of (scientific) creativity: A hierarchical model of disposition, development, and achievement. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 4, 441-452.
Prior research supports the inference that scientific disciplines can be ordered into a hierarchy from the “hard” natural sciences to the “soft” social sciences. This ordering corresponds with such objective criteria as disciplinary consensus, knowledge obsolescence rate, anticipation frequency, theories-to-laws ratio, lecture disfluency, and age at recognition. It is then argued that this hierarchy can be (a) extrapolated to encompass the humanities and arts and (b) interpolated within specific domains to accommodate contrasts in subdomains (e.g., revolutionary versus normal science). This expanded and more finely differentiated hierarchy is then shown to have a partial psychological basis in terms of dispositional traits (e.g., psychopathology) and developmental experiences (e.g., family background). This demonstration then leads to three hypotheses about how a creator’s domain-specific impact depends on his or her disposition and development: the domain-progressive, domain-typical, and domain-regressive creator hypotheses. Studies published thus far lend the most support to the domain-regressive creator hypothesis. In particular, major contributors to a domain are more likely to have dispositional traits and developmental experiences most similar to those that prevail in a domain lower in the disciplinary hierarchy. However, some complications to this generalization suggest the need for more research on the proposed hierarchical model.
373. Simonton, D. K., & Song, A. V. (2009). Eminence, IQ, physical and mental health, and achievement domain: Cox’s 282 geniuses revisited. Psychological Science, 20, 429-434.
Catharine Cox published two studies of highly eminent creators and leaders, the first in 1926 as volume two of Terman’s (1925-1959) landmark Genetic Studies of Genius and the second in 1936 as a co-authored article. The former publication concentrated on the relation between IQ and achieved eminence whereas the latter focused on early physical and mental health. Taking advantage of unpublished data from the second study, the present authors examine for the first time the relationships among achieved eminence, IQ, early physical and mental health, and achievement domain. The correlation and regression analyses showed that for these 282 individuals (a) eminence is a positive function of IQ and (b) IQ is a positive function of mental health and a negative function of physical health, implying an indirect effect of physical and mental health upon eminence. Furthermore, levels of early physical and mental health vary across 10 specific domains of achievement.
374. Cassandro, V. J., & Simonton, D. K. (2010). Versatility, openness to experience, and topical diversity in creative products: An exploratory historiometric analysis of scientists, philosophers, and writers. Journal of Creative Behavior, 44, 1-18.
Creative individuals are considered versatile when their achievements extend beyond their most commonly cited domain, thus indicating remarkable and varied interests and abilities. The present study examined the association between versatility and (a) the personalities of eminent creators and (b) the topical diversity of their creative products. The main sample consisted of 67 eminent scientists, creative writers, philosophers, and scholars drawn from the history of Western Civilization, with a subsample of 38 creators obtaining observer-based scores on openness to experience. Versatile creators were found to have produced works with greater topical diversity than did their non-versatile counterparts. In addition, topical diversity was positively associated with openness. These relationships varied according to the domain of creative achievement.
376. Simonton, D. K. (2010b). Creativity as blind-variation and selective-retention: Combinatorial models of exceptional creativity. Physics of Life Reviews, 7, 156-179.
Campbell (1960) proposed that creative thought should be conceived as a blind-variation and selective-retention process (BVSR). This article reviews the developments that have taken place in the half century that has elapsed since his proposal, with special focus on the use of combinatorial models as formal representations of the general theory. After defining the key concepts of blind variants, creative thought, and disciplinary context, the combinatorial models are specified in terms of individual domain samples, variable field size, ideational combination, and disciplinary communication. Empirical implications are then derived with respect to individual, domain, and field systems. These abstract combinatorial models are next provided substantive reinforcement with respect to findings concerning the cognitive processes, personality traits, developmental factors, and social contexts that contribute to creativity. The review concludes with some suggestions regarding future efforts to explicate creativity according to BVSR theory.
377. Simonton, D. K. (2010c). Creativity in highly eminent individuals. In J. C. Kaufman & R. J. Sternberg (Eds.), Cambridge handbook of creativity (pp. 174-188). New York: Cambridge University Press.
380. Simonton, D. K. (2010f). Emotion and composition in classical music: Historiometric perspectives. In P. Juslin & J. Sloboda (Eds.), Handbook of music and emotion: Theory, research, applications (pp. 347-366). New York: Oxford University Press.
386. Simonton, D. K. (2010l). Reply to comments. Physics of Life Reviews, 7, 190-194.
Both positive and negative comments are discussed with the aim of stimulating future theoretical and empirical research on BVSR models of creativity, including combinatorial models.
387. Simonton, D. K. (2010m). So you want to become a creative genius? You must be crazy! In D. Cropley, J. Kaufmann, A. Cropley, & M. Runco (Eds.), The dark side of creativity (pp. 218-234). New York: Cambridge University Press.
388. Simonton, D. K., & Damian, R. I. (2010). In the beginning was the word … [Review of the motion picture Police, Adjective, directed by C. Porumboiu]. PsycCRITIQUES, 55 (38).
This is a small-budget film, coming out of the Romanian New Wave, about an undercover police officer tailing a teenage boy who is suspected of dealing drugs. The audience is placed in the voyeuristic role of following him through the painstaking routine of his job. There is no proof to incriminate the 16-year-old, other than the fact that he has smoked a few joints with his friends, and the police officer would rather continue the investigation in order to find the real drug dealer. His boss, however, wants to close the case and arrest the boy for drug use, but the police officer is reluctant to condemn the boy to seven years in prison for a joint. For the viewer, the focus is not on the facts collected by the police officer but on his interactions with other people, which accentuate the absurdity of his position. Various scenes in the movie make a very artful use of humor, providing comic relief but also subtly reaffirming the ludicrousness of the police officer’s situation. The officer’s predicament is touching, as is the accurate portrayal of the psychological aftermath ensuing from the fall of the Iron Curtain. This film has captured the crux of the problem faced by transition countries: societies whose mind-set has not yet adapted to the newfound freedom and can evolve only with time and through generational change. From a historical perspective, this seems natural and easy, but the cost is paid with every individual’s psychological health. Fight the system or be the system. Many avoid this difficult choice by simply leaving the country – only to find out that this choice has to be made anywhere in the world. Although Western societies offer more individual freedom and more opportunities for self-actualization, the police officer’s conflict really is a universal one.
389. Simonton, D. K., & Ting, S.-S. (2010). Creativity in Eastern and Western civilizations: The lessons of historiometry. Management and Organization Review, 6, 329-350.
What are the fundamental factors that promote highly influential creativity? How do these factors differ in Western and Far Eastern civilizations? Many researchers have addressed these questions using historiometrics, a method that tests nomothetic hypotheses about human behavior by subjecting historical and biographical data to objective and quantitative analyses. These investigations may entail either aggregate-level analyses (e.g., generational time series of creative activity) or individual-level analyses (e.g., cross-sectional studies of creative achievement). Moreover, the empirical findings in each of these two approaches fall into two categories of East-West comparisons: (a) shared variables and convergent results versus (b) shared variables and divergent results. After reviewing representative findings in each of these categories, we discuss what the results imply about the nature of high-impact creativity in the East and West and also explore areas of potential future historiometric research.
390. Damian, R. I., & Simonton, D. K. (2011). From past to future art: The creative impact of Picasso’s 1935 Minotauromachy on his 1937 Guernica. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 5, 360-369.
This paper reports a quantitative analysis of how Picasso’s 1935 etching Minotauromachy influenced the creative process observed in the sketches for his 1937 painting Guernica. The experimental stimuli consisted of 39 images obtained from the original set of Guernica sketches. We included only the four figural elements that appear in both the etching and throughout the Guernica sketches (the bull/minotaur head, the horse, the woman holding a lamp, and the ladder climb). Seven independent raters judged the similarity of the sketches to the images extracted from the 1935 etching. The average similarity rating gave us the progress score for each sketch when compared to the etching. Using the data from Simonton (2007a), we also included in our discussion the sketch progress scores towardsGuernica. We found evidence for the nonmonotonicity of the creative process (characterized by numerous backtrackings), as opposed to monotonic improvement. This suggests that although Picasso used some of the figural elements found in his earlier work, he did not merely improve them through a monotonic “honing” process, but rather explored a variety of possibilities, as is characteristic of a blind-variation process.
391. Jennings, K. E., Simonton, D. K., & Palmer, S. E. (2011, November). Understanding exploratory creativity in a visual domain. Proceedings of the 8th ACM conference on Creativity, Atlanta.
This paper describes a computerized aesthetic composition task that is based on a “creativity as search” metaphor. The technique collects detailed, moment-to-moment data about people’s search behavior, which can help open the “black box” that separates independent variables that influence creativity from their outcomes. We first describe the technique and provide a detailed theoretical framework. Then, we discuss how the technique is typically applied, describe several in-progress studies, and present some preliminary results. Finally, we discuss relations to other work, limitations, and future directions. We argue that this technique and the research that it enables will facilitate a deeper understanding of the creative process, become a valued tool for creativity researchers, and contribute to methodological and theoretical advances in how creativity is studied and understood.
392. Simonton, D. K. (2011a). Awards. In M. A. Runco & S. Pritzker (Eds.), Encyclopedia of creativity (2nd ed., vol. 1, pp. 107-113). Oxford: Elsevier.
Awards, prizes, and honors are offered for a wide variety of creative achievements in the arts and sciences. Such honors also assume many different forms, such awards for single products versus entire careers. Because such recognition has face validity, they have been often used to solve the criterion problem in creativity research. Two illustrations are discussed at length: Nobel Prizes given to great scientists and Academy Awards (Oscars) bestowed on great cinematic accomplishments. Because use of awards has disadvantages as well as advantages, comparisons are made with alternative indicators of exceptional creativity, such as productivity and eminence. Finally, the Creative Achievement Questionnaire is used to show how awards might be integrated with lower levels of creativity to produce a scale that covers the full range of the phenomenon.
393. Simonton, D. K. (2011b). Big-C creativity in the Big City: Definitions, speculations, and complications. In D. E. Andersson, Å. E. Andersson, & C. Mellander (Eds.), Handbook of creative cities (pp. 72-84). Cheltenham Glos, UK: Edward Elgar.
394. Simonton, D. K. (2011c). Creativity and discovery as blind variation and selective retention: Multiple-variant definitions and blind-sighted integration. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 5, 222-228.
In 1960, Donald Campbell proposed that creativity and discovery involve blind variation and selective retention (BVSR). Over the past half century, his proposal has continued to provoke controversy. The principal focus of this debate has been on whether ideational variations are blind or sighted. Although some progress has been made in providing a more formal definition of what constitutes a blind variation, these recent developments have assumed just two variants. In this article, both blindness and sightedness are defined for any number of hypothetical variants. This definition provides the metric for a blind-sighted continuum applicable to any set of variants for a given problem. The definition also yields a six-fold typology of ideational variants that differ in blindness and vary in their likelihoods of being selected for retention. With only minor modification, this definition is demonstrated to apply to sequential as well as simultaneous variation-selection. These formal definitions provide the means to integrate both blindness and sightedness into a single conception, thereby undermining the present tendency toward an exclusive, either-or debate. Even so, if creativity and discovery are defined as the generation of ideas that are novel, useful, and surprising, then all three criteria are more likely to be met when the generated ideational variations fall toward the blind end of the blind-sighted spectrum.
395. Simonton, D. K. (2011d). Creativity and discovery as blind variation: Campbell’s (1960) BVSR model after the half-century mark. Review of General Psychology, 15, 158-174.
This article assesses and extends Campbell’s (1960) classic theory that creativity and discovery depend on blind variation and selective retention (BVSR), with special attention given to blind variations (BV). The treatment begins by defining creativity and discovery, variant blindness versus sightedness, variant utility and selection, and ideational variants versus creative products. These definitions lead to BV identification criteria: (a) intended BV, which entails both systematic and stochastic combinatorial procedures, and (b) implied BV, which involves both variations with properties of blindness (variation superfluity and backtracking) and processes that should yield variant blindness (associative richness, defocused attention, behavioral tinkering, and heuristic search). These conceptual definitions and identification criteria then have implications for four persistent issues, namely, domain expertise, ideational randomness, analogical equivalence, and personal volition. Once BV is suitably conceptualized, Campbell’s theory continues to provide a fruitful approach to the understanding of both creativity and discovery.
396. Simonton, D. K. (2011e). Debating the BVSR theory of creativity: Comments on Dasgupta (2011) and Gabora (2011). Creativity Research Journal, 23, 381-387.
Donald Campbell’s blind variation and selective retention (BVSR) theory of creativity is now more than a half-century old, but it continues to provoke debate, both in his original version and in the later versions of subsequent researchers, especially Simonton (e.g., 2010a). Gabora (2011) and Dasgupta (2011) have provided useful and detailed critiques. The present response begins with an overview of the debate’s history, and then turns to the two sets of criticisms. This reply then closes with a suggested integrative reconciliation in which variation-selection episodes can be evaluated along a blind-sighted continuum.
398. Simonton, D. K. (2011g). Eminence. In M. A. Runco & S. Pritzker (Eds.), Encyclopedia of creativity (2nd ed., vol. 1, pp. 441-448). Oxford: Elsevier.
Creativity researchers sometimes use eminence as a manner of identifying highly creative individuals as well as an approach to assessing the magnitude of their creativity. After discussing various assessment techniques, the article treats the psychometric features of the resulting measures. The article next provides an overview of some of the central empirical findings regarding achieved eminence as a creator. The article then closes with a discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of using eminence measures to study creativity.
399. Simonton, D. K. (2011h). Exceptional talent and genius. In T. Chamorro-Premuzic, S. Stumm, & A. Furnham (Eds.), The Wiley-Blackwell handbook of individual differences (pp. 635-655). New York: Wiley-Blackwell.