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creativity, cognition and the book
March 3, 2009 2:42 AM   Subscribe

I'm working on my PhD in artists' books at the moment. Recently, pursuing aspects of creativity from a cognition-and-creativity viewpoint has become interesting to me. I need a toehold on the science, here.

I have an art background rather than a science one though, and I'd appreciate advice on recent books and publications on cognitive aspects of creativity, and in particular aspects that have to do with reading and empathy (...in a creative context). A touch of lazyweb from me, but if you can help me pinpoint something relevant to get me speaking the right language about the topic, I'd be grateful.
posted by aesop to Science & Nature (5 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
this should be a good start:

psychology of creativity
posted by forrestal at 6:07 AM on March 3, 2009


My field is film, and there is a subfield (growing in strength, I hope) called cognitive film studies, much of which addresses the kinds of questions that (I think) are of interest to you. Probably the most notable film scholar to abide by the cognitive approach is David Bordwell; this idea is worked into the body of many of his books, most prominently The Way Hollywood Tells It, Poetics of Cinema, and Post-Theory, which Bordwell coedited with Noël Carroll.

Carroll himself is an extremely important figure in cognitive/creative research; he works in aesthetics, with a major interest in film. ALL of his books start from this point of view. Pick one that interests you!

Both Carroll and Bordwell trace their interests in this field to works by Rudolf Arnheim and E.H. Gombrich, who are giants in this field. You are probably familiar with such works as Arnheim's Art and Visual Perception and Gombrich's Art and Illusion.

Other film-related/cognition-related books that may be of interest to you:
Torben Grodal
Greg Smith & Carl Plantinga
Greg Smith

Searching for "evolutionary psychology" will likely turn up a bunch of results of books and articles that will address the science-y part of your question. I can personally recommend Robert Wright's The Moral Animal (which I honestly think everyone should read) and Steven Pinker's How the Mind Works (ditto), which address this question to varying degrees.

Do you know anyone at your university who works in the field of cognitive psychology? You should seek out such a professor/student and get his or her recommendations.

I know much of this is off-topic, but I hope it helps, anyway. I read LOTS of off-topic stuff when researching my dissertation...
posted by Dr. Wu at 9:09 AM on March 3, 2009


Thanks for the responses everyone. I'm trying to keep my 'off-topic' interest a bit sub rosa as far as my supervisors are concerned, as they're a bit fearful that I'll go zooming off trying to research the encylopaedia of everything. Not that they're wrong to want to try to rein me in a bit!
posted by aesop at 9:27 AM on March 3, 2009


There's scattered work in philosophy of mind on this stuff. David Chalmers' biblio turns up some entries: http://consc.net/mindpapers/search?searchStr=creativity&filterMode=keywords. I know someone somewhere in upstate NY just did a dissertation on it, too (SUNY Buffalo?), but don't remember who or where...
posted by Beardman at 9:35 AM on March 3, 2009


Maybe I didn't make myself very clear, aesop:
Those texts that I recommended to you are, yes, "officially" outside your topic, but they contain arguments and information that I'd imagine would be directly applicable to your field. At the very least, they will give you some ideas about the ways that scholars in the humanities have adapted "scientific" ideas for the analysis of works of art.

And the works by Pinker, Wright, et. al., are really good ways for you to familiarize yourself with the major avenues of inquiry in the field of cognition and art. (And they both happen to be great reads with extensive, highly plumbable bibliographies.)
posted by Dr. Wu at 12:40 PM on March 6, 2009


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