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Do teens lose creativity?

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Do teens lose creativity?

-photo and graphic by ariel feldman, staff photographer

-photo and graphic by ariel feldman, staff photographer

-photo and graphic by ariel feldman, staff photographer

LeopardLife Ailsa Kokoricha, Staff Writer

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Some believe there is potential for creativity in every individual. They say that everyone is born with some streak of creative thinking in them, but that it is being pressed out of them in schools. Now evidence is suggesting students are becoming less creative than they were before.

“I believe humans are creative. I guess since the beginning of time they’ve been trying to mark on walls, if that’s in cave paintings, or the Egyptians coming up with their own writing and hieroglyphs. It’s just kind of evolved over time to be something that’s a bit more expressive. Artists are always coming up with new ways to use mediums, so, yeah, I definitely think humans are inherently creative,” said art teacher, Robert Zimmerman.

According to http://www.newsweek.com, creativity is a two-step process. First, divergent thinking is required, which means generating new and unique ideas. Second is convergent thinking, which is combining those ideas to make the best result.

Many tests have been made to find the true amount of creativity in individuals.

The Torrance Test of Creative Thinking was first administered in Minneapolis in 1958. Professor E. Paul Torrance had developed a test to measure a child’s creativity.

“One of my first challenges was to find some way of measuring creative talent, because I knew that the key to progress in any field was measurement,” said Torrance.

Ted Schwarzrock, one of the first “Torrance kids,” remembers being asked by the psychologist who gave him the test how to improve the toy he was given. The psychologist’s notes imply that Schwarzrock was gifted creatively, more so than an average child.

Torrance’s test, like many intelligence tests, have been taken by millions of people worldwide. Though, unlike intelligence tests, which have a phenomenon known as the Flynn effect that says that scores go up about ten points each generation, Torrance’s test is showing that America’s creative quotient, or CQ, is lessening. Kyung Hee Kim, a professor at the college William and Mary, discovered this during her study; she figured out that up until 1990, creativity scores had been rising.

Tham Khai Meng, co-chairman and worldwide chief creative officer of Ogilvy and Mather, believes that schools are teaching students to conform instead of show their creativity.

“We spend our childhoods being taught the artificial skill of passing exams. We learn to give teachers what they expect. By the time we get into industry, we have been conditioned to conform. We spend our days in meetings and talk about ‘thinking outside the box’. But rarely do we step outside it,” said Meng in his article on https://www.theguardian.com.

Joel Brown, journalist and founder of https://addicted2success.com, also has the same mindset as Meng, saying that standardized tests, stereotyping, and having only “one correct answer” is doing away with the creative mindset.

“When a school limits, one answer is only the right answer, it limits a kid’s creativity. Mainly because when there’s only one right answer, kids don’t think outside the box. Then they think there’s only one way to do something, so creativity becomes limited and there’s less to be explored by the kids,” said eighth-grader, Kaya Czyz.

Also according to Brown, not getting the right kind of sleep or the right amount might eliminate creativity. There are two different phases of sleep: REM and deep sleep. REM sleep is the lighter form, named after the fact that there are normally “rapid eye movements” during this kind of sleep. The transition between the two takes about an hour and a half. During deep sleep the brain filters through and catalogs information taken from the day. Brown believes that without enough of this kind of sleep, the ability to create and imagine is gone.

“I, in general, get enough sleep. I go to bed usually around eight, but I feel like most of my friends, I hear them talk about them going to sleep at two in the morning. That’s not good for you. I feel like that really affects their creative thinking because you don’t get that sleep to help you process information later on in the day. It’s a necessity to have that creative thought process,” said eighth-grader, Guy Nowak.

George Land also created a creativity test, similar to the Torrance test. In 1968, Land decided to test the creativity of three to five year olds. He tested 1,600 children; the results varied widely between the ages. The five year olds who took the test scored around 98 percent. When the children were retested at age ten, they scored 30 percent. Eventually, when they were 15, their scores dropped another 18 percent. Land has discovered through the results that non-creative thinking is taught by society.

According to http://www.csun.edu/, individuals’ motivations for creativity are: the need for novel, varied, or complex stimulation, communicate ideas and values, and solve problems.

“I believe that every creatively gifted child has moments when he realizes that inside his head he is different from others. He may not know exactly how or why, but at some time he becomes aware of this fact. What happens next can be critically important in that child’s life,” said Schwarzrock.

 

 

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Do teens lose creativity?