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December 1955

What Is Creative Thinking?

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1955;74(6):700. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1955.02330180118012

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Abstract

This book is an attempt to collect in one volume the available information now in print about creative thinking, in order to provide a comprehensive view and critical evaluation of this mental process. There is an extensive bibliography, and a large proportion of the text consists of selected quotations. Each chapter is conveniently summarized.

Steps in creative thinking are delineated and summarized as follows: (1) preparation, with deliberate and nondeliberate mental activity, and a feeling of doubt and perplexity; (2) incubation, (3) illumination, with spontaneous appearance of a new idea, associated with feelings of confidence and pleasure, and (4) verification or revision, associated with a fully conscious comparison of the new idea with established ones.

Psychotic thought and ordinary (normal) reverie are seen as lacking in verification and revision. Problems to be solved may be compared to nervous system disequilibrium, with the solution providing restoration to the steady state. Creative

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