Chapter

Young and Old, Novice and Expert: How we Evaluate Creative art can Reflect Practice or Talent

James C. Kaufman, John Baer and Lauren E. Skidmore

in The Complexity of Greatness

Published in print May 2013 | ISBN: 9780199794003
Published online September 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199345212 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199794003.003.0005
Young and Old, Novice and Expert: How we Evaluate Creative art can Reflect Practice or Talent

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This chapter analyzes the question of deliberate talent vs. innate practice via the lens of how experts and novices evaluate creative work. The correspondence between expert and novice ratings varies by domain; in poetry, for example, the relationship is small, whereas the two groups converge more in ratings of fiction. Different types of experts tend to agree. Most relevantly, gifted novices tend to agree with experts, suggesting a significant unlearned and unpracticed component. Older college students’ evaluations of the creativity of poetry and short stories, by comparison, did not match experts’ judgments nearly so closely. This suggests the possibility that at least some part of these gifted young writers’ skill in evaluating creativity may be innate. Further research with younger gifted writers could help us better distinguish the innate and acquired portions of evaluative skill.

Keywords: creativity; creative writing; expertise; poetry; fiction; gifted writers

Chapter.  5397 words. 

Subjects: Social Psychology

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