Creative Cultures, Nations, and Civilizations

Dean Keith Simonton

in Group Creativity

Published in print September 2003 | ISBN: 9780195147308
Published online April 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199893720 | DOI:
Creative Cultures, Nations, and Civilizations

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This chapter begins by discussing the debate between Francis Galton (1869) and Alphonse de Candolle (1873), a debate that Galton (1874) framed in terms of the classic nature-nurture issue. Although most psychologists have followed Galton in treating nurture in terms of family and school environments, a considerable literature has emerged which points to the significance of the larger sociocultural milieu. Some researchers have followed Candolle's example by examining cross-sectional units (nations or cultures) to discern the Ortgeist most conducive to creative activity at the aggregate level. Others have pursued the approach pioneered by Kroeber (1944), Sorokin (1937-1941) and others by scrutinizing how time-series fluctuations in group-level creativity are associated with short- and long-term changes in the Zeitgeist. Taken together, the research demonstrates that a specific set of political, economic, social, and cultural circumstances are associated with a high level of creative activity at a particular time or place.

Keywords: creative cultures; Francis Galton; Alphonse de Candolle; nature-nurture

Chapter.  10039 words. 

Subjects: Social Psychology

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