Cross-Domain Influences on Creative Processes and Products

AbstractAccording to the honing theory of creativity, the iterative process culminating in a creative work is made possible by the self-organizing nature of a conceptual network, or worldview, and its innate wholistic tendency to minimize inconsistency. As such, the creative process is not limited to the problem domain, and influences on creativity from domains other than that of the final product are predicted to be widespread. We conducted a study in which participants with varying levels of creative experience listed their creative outputs, as well as influences (sources of inspiration) on these outputs. Of the 758 creative influences, 13% were within-domain narrow, 13% within-domain broad, 67% cross-domain, and 6% unclassifiable. These findings support the hypothesis that to trace the inspirational sources or 'conceptual parents' of a creative output, and thus track its cultural lineage, one must look beyond the problem domain to the creators’ self-organizing, inconsistency-minimizing worldview at large.


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