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December 27, 1965

IV. On the Biology of Creativity

Author Affiliations

From the Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology, Shrewsbury, Mass.

JAMA. 1965;194(13):1369-1370. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03090260029008

I would like to comment on some biologic aspects of creativity. The higher forms of animals, including ourselves, have been extensively studied by behavioral psychologists from the point of view of their drives and motivations. In recent years, it has been discovered that one fundamental motivation for animal behavior seems to be curiosity—the drive to explore without reference to any particular end in view of food or reward. This is a biologic characteristic of animals ranging from cockroaches to man.

For example, Robert Butler found that monkeys enclosed in a dimly lighted box would press a lever to open an opaque window for a few seconds. The window then closed automatically and could be opened again only by pressing a lever. A monkey would open and reopen the window for hours on end for no reward other than an opportunity to look out and see what was on the other

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