Thursday, March 15, 2012

Creativity and IQ

Did you know that it takes a fair amount of brains to be creative? Did you know that most conceptions of giftedness include a creativity component? Did you know that creatively gifted kids do not fit well in the rigid standards that we call public school? 

Creatively gifted students are our future! They think outside the box and they discover new ways to do things. Creatively gifted students can be the Bill Gates or the Steve Jobs of the future, so they deserve our attention and care.

Photo: Dr. E. Paul Torrance (
Paul Torrance, an American psychologist developed what is know as the threshold hypothesis. This states that there is a correlation between IQ and creativity. This means, stated simply,"that it takes a fair amount of brains to be creative." It also means that a highly creative person probably has a fairly high IQ, BUT, a person with a high IQ many not necessarily be creative.

Wikipedia gives a more scholarly explanation:  
"An often cited model is what has come to be known as "the threshold hypothesis," proposed by Ellis Paul Torrance, which holds that a high degree of intelligence appears to be a necessary but not sufficient condition for high creativity. That is, while there is a positive correlation between creativity and intelligence, this correlation disappears for IQs above a threshold of around 120. Such a model has found acceptance by many researchers, although it has not gone unchallenged." 

Photo: Dr. Joseph Renzulli (

Dr. Renzulli, of the University of Connecticut, is one of the foremost researchers in gifted education. His 3 Ring Conception of Gifted, includes a creativity component.

Each of the circles are shown the same size, but not all students have equal amounts of each component. Students who excel in creativity are considered creative-productive gifted. Dr. Renzulli describes his thoughts on creative-productive students...

(In Dr. Renzulli's own words),
"If scores on IQ tests and other measures of cognitive ability only account for a limited proportion of the common variance with school grades, we can be equally certain that these measures do not tell the whole story when it comes to making predictions about creative-productive giftedness. ...
Creative-productive giftedness. describes those aspects of human activity and involvement in which a premium is placed on the development of original material and products that are purposefully designed to have an impact on one or more target audiences. Learning situations that are designed to promote creative-productive giftedness emphasize the use and application of information (content) and thinking skills (process) in an integrated, inductive, and real-problem oriented manner. The role of the student is transformed from that of a learner of prescribed lessons to one in which she or he uses the modus operandi of a firsthand inquirer. This approach is quite different from the development of lesson-learning giftedness, which tends to emphasize deductive learning, structured training in the development of thinking processes, and the acquisition, storage, and retrieval of information. In other words, creative-productive giftedness is simply putting one's abilities to work on problems and areas of study that have personal relevance to the student and that can be escalated to appropriately challenging levels of investigative activity... such as constructivist theory, authentic learning, discovery learning, problem based learning, and performance assessment. " 

Creative-Productive Giftedness (click on the link to read Dr. Renzulli's entire article)

Photo: Dr. Bertie Kingore Ph. D (

Bertie Kingore, Ph.D has a fascinating article that compares high achievers, gifted learners, and creative thinkers. Pay special attention to the cartoons and the chart. Her chart, which compares how each type of learner thinks. is especially enlightening. You will notice, on the chart, that the words that describe creative students, are not necessarily the descriptors of compliant, model students:
sees exceptions
overflows with ideas, many of which will never be developed
is in own group
shares bizzare, sometimes conflicting opinions
questions, "what if"
questions the need for mastery
relishes wild, off-the-wall humor
initiates more projects that will ever be completed
is unconventional
is idiosyncratic read the list, and you have a creatively gifted child...Now what?

Photo: Carol Fertig (

Carol Fertig, who writes a blog for Prufrock Press, gives some wonderful, practical suggestions!

Exquisite Minds: Gifted and Creative Children is a site dedicated to creative-productive children. It includes ideas, links to other sites, and a forum.

Visual Manna is another site that has some wonderful information and food for thought about teaching cre-ative children. She advocates the arts as a way to challenge creative-productive children. Her blog begins with the following...

This quote by Pearl S. Buck, master writer and sculptress is so good! Sometimes creatively gifted students are considered overly dramatic.
“To him…
a touch is a blow,
a sound is a noise,
a misfortune is a tragedy,
a joy is an ecstasy,
a friend is a love,
a lover is a god,
and failure is death.
Add to this cruelly delicate organism the overpowering necessity to create, create, create – - – so that without the creating of music or poetry or books or buildings or something of meaning, his very breath is cut off from him. He must create, must pour out creation. By some strange, unknown, inward urgency he is not really alive unless he is creating.” 

Relish your wonderful, quirky, dramatic child and sit back and watch what he or she may become.  Advocate for him, push her, give challenge, follow his lead, and you will be well on your way to an adventure! Take it from the mom of several creative-productive students.

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