Postconventionality and creativity

This is not a pipe.

Ruth Richards’s excel­lent book, Every­day Cre­ativ­ity fea­tures an essay by Mark A. Runco called “To Under­stand is to Cre­ate.” In this essay, Runco argues for three stages of cre­ativ­ity, pick­ing up on the work of a behav­ioral sci­en­tist:
Per­sonal cre­ativ­ity can also be under­stood as a kind of post­con­ven­tional behav­ior. Post­con­ven­tion­al­ity was orig­i­nally pro­posed by Kohlberg (1987) to describe the high­est level of moral devel­op­ment, or at least the high­est level of moral rea­son­ing. The ear­lier stages are pre­con­ven­tional (the child does not have the cog­ni­tive capac­ity to grasp “rules,” “morals,” or “con­ven­tions” of any sort) and con­ven­tional (the indi­vid­ual blindly con­forms to what oth­ers do and expect). I sug­gested that the con­ven­tional stage is appar­ent not only in moral rea­son­ing but also in cre­ative per­for­mances… It may help explain the fourth-grade slump for exam­ple, as well as the lit­eral stage of lan­guage and the loss of self-expression in children’s rep­re­sen­ta­tional art.

Post­con­ven­tional rea­son­ing char­ac­ter­izes the indi­vid­ual who under­stands con­ven­tions but still thinks for him– or herself.

About Richard D. Russell

This was written by Richard D. Russell, New York City based composer of fine music.