You're Looking, Um, Creative Today: The Creative Personality
You may not be a Michelangelo or a Dickens (or, for that matter, a Kanye) but you might just have the personality of one! In his Psychology Today article "What Do Creative People Look Like?" Mark Batey, PhD identifies the following (translated into YJGM-speak) as the personality traits that creative people possess:
• Alternative: Open to new experiences and ways of working; curious; imaginative and questioning of how the world works.
• Casual, insofar as they tend to avoid being highly ordered, structured and organized.
• Competitive - that is, they are comfortable with disagreement and going against the consensus.
Neuroticism in particular appears to be particularly elevated in "artistic" domains - poets, artists and designers are often far more emotionally sensitive. Why is this, you ask? Batey explains: "The answer may be tracked back to the notion of what we consider art and artistic products to be 'for'. If we run with the idea that art "exists" in order to generate emotions in the viewer or recipient. Then... if artists are more emotionally sensitive, they are in a better position to understand emotion and convey it through their artistic products to evoke emotional responses in the beholder."
Batey's research found that as far as extraversion vs. introversion, the results are contingent upon the field that the person is demonstrating their creativity. Introversion is a stronger trait in those whose endeavors require isolated work and thoughtful consideration, such as creative scientists and artists. However, commercial creatives (designers, bloggers, or folks involved in advertising) tend to be extraverted; their work involves "a complex web of social interactions" and often their products require an integration with many other pieces of a corporate puzzle. It may even be that this social web is an expression of the extraverted person's creativity!
The language of the study also illustrates a challenge that the YJGM team faced when developing our work: keeping all terminology neutral. In the original research, Batey refers to creative people as "not particularly Conscientious" and "generally disagreeable." Harsh! While this phrasing is accurate in regards to the Big Five model of personality, most people would read these as being negative traits. The reality is that these are neutral traits - even being "generally disagreeable" refers more specifically to being willing to disagree. We at YJGM had to be a little alternative and competitive, so to speak, to work out new language for describing the Big Five personality traits. Just like The Streets say, "you just gotta stay positive!"
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