The Dark Side of Creativity

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With few exceptions, scholarship on creativity has focused on its positive aspects while largely ignoring its dark side. This includes not only creativity deliberately aimed at hurting others, such as crime or terrorism, or at gaining unfair advantages, but also the accidental negative side effects of well-intentioned acts. This book brings together essays written by experts from various fields (psychology, criminal justice, sociology, engineering, education, history, and design) and with different interests (personality development, mental health, deviant behavior, law enforcement, and counter-terrorism) to illustrate the nature of negative creativity, examine its variants, call attention to its dangers, and draw conclusions about how to prevent it or protect society from its effects.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“From fine art to nuclear weapons and nuclear power, from crime to careers of creative geniuses, this respectably academic yet immensely entertaining book suggests that the Devil does indeed have the best tunes. In today’s world of ever-shrinking resources and ever-mounting constraints we need creativity more than ever before, but the editors and the contributors have done all of us great service by warning of the disruption, pain, and danger that it may leave in its wake, not least to the creative people themselves.”
– Paul Ekblom, Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design

“An intriguing intellectual journey into the mad genius and sometimes psychopathically deviant roots of creativity.”
– J. Reid Meloy, University of California, San Diego

“The question of the role of creativity’s ‘dark side’ is one of the most important yet understudied phenomena in the social sciences. Indeed, in this age of corruption, financial meltdowns, and technological advances that outstrip our ability to understand them, are there more important topics in the study of creativity than ethics, unintended consequences, and potentially negative outcomes of creativity and innovation? I think not. This excellent volume provides a first-rate summary of the state of the art regarding these topics, and many of the chapters provide insightful analyses of where additional work is needed. The chapters are written by authors with wide-ranging backgrounds, who are among the leading thinkers on these topics from around the world. Speaking of diversity of perspective, kudos to the editors for including a chapter that questions whether there really is a dark side of creativity at all!”
– Jonathan Plucker, Indiana University

“This is one of the most important books on creativity to be published over the last twenty years; its list of editors and contributors stands for high-quality chapters. With the ‘dark side’ illuminated from many different facets, a vastly neglected aspect of creativity has been opened for scholarly discussion. The volume offers an inspiring source and starting point for further research, bringing together a still much broader range of disciplines – since all realms and areas of human thinking and acting owe their benevolent, and malevolent, progress to creative persons, be it scientists, artists, politicians, or engineers, etc. Deep insights and knowledge about the ‘dark side of creativity’ as provided here may help to generally develop more responsibility and more wisdom in dealing with creative motives, actions, processes, and products in the interest of a more humane human cultural evolution.”
– Klaus K. Urban, Leibniz University of Hannover, Germany

"....highly recommend.... The title of the book is simple enough to understand, and gives a thorough treatment of the issues negative to creativity; the content deserves more respect and acknowledgment than is currently given. If you read a chapter every night before going to sleep, bedtime stories will never be the same again."
–Current Issues in Creativity Research, Kimberly T. Cardina, State University of New York/Buffalo State

"....The Dark Side of Creativity is a refreshing book with original insights.... easy to go beyond its boundaries and connect to other related ideas about creativity that have been circulating lately. I would recommend the book to anyone interested in creativity."
—Stephen J. Guastello, PsycCRITIQUES

"....provide interesting reading but also reveal the chaotic state of research on creativity.... these essays shed light on the many ways in which scholars in the field think about negative creativity—and their many areas of disagreement. A valuable contribution to the literature on creativity...."
- P. Flattau, Institute for Defense Analyses, CHOICE

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521191715
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 6/30/2010
  • Pages: 404
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

David H. Cropley is Deputy Director of the Defence and Systems Institute, University of South Australia, and a former officer in the UK's Royal Navy. He is the author, with Arthur Cropley, of Fostering Creativity: A Diagnostic Approach for Higher Education and Organisations.

Arthur J. Cropley is Emeritus Professor of Psychology at the University of Hamburg and previously worked at the UNESCO Institute for Education in Hamburg. He is currently a Visiting Professor of Psychology at the University of Latvia. He has published extensively in a wide range of journals and is the author, co-author, or editor of 25 books, which have appeared in a total of 12 languages. He was the founding editor of the European Journal for High Ability (now known as High Ability Studies).

James C. Kaufman is an Associate Professor of Psychology at the California State University at San Bernardino, where he directs the Learning Research Institute. Kaufman is the author or editor of 16 books, including Creativity 101, Essentials of Creativity Assessment (with Jonathan Plucker and John Baer), International Handbook of Creativity (with Robert J. Sternberg), and Applied Intelligence (with Robert J. Sternberg and Elena Grigorenko). He is a founding co-editor of the official journal for the American Psychological Association's Division 10, Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts. He is also the associate editor of Psychological Assessment and the Journal of Creative Behavior, the editor of the International Journal of Creativity and Problem Solving, and the series editor of the Psych 101 series.

Mark A. Runco is E. Paul Torrance Professor of Creativity and Gifted Education at the University of Georgia, Athens. He has also taught at the University of Hawaii, Hilo, and California State University, Fullerton. He is a Fellow and Past President of Division 10 of the American Psychological Association and the founder of the Creativity Research Journal, of which he remains editor-in-chief. Runco is currently co-editing the second edition of the Encyclopedia of Creativity.

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Table of Contents

1. The dark side of creativity: what is it? Arthur J. Cropley; 2. Creativity has no dark side Mark A. Runco; 3. Positive creativity and negative creativity (and unintended consequences) Keith James and Aisha Taylor; 4. Subjugating the creative mind: the Soviet biological weapons program and the role of the state Maria N. Zaitseva; 5. Imagining the bomb: Robert Oppenheimer, nuclear weapons, and the assimilation of technological innovation David Hecht; 6. The innovation dilemma: some risks of creativity in strategic agency James M. Jasper; 7. Creativity as a constraint on future achievement Jack A. Goncalo, Lynne C. Vincent and Pino G. Audia; 8. Boundless creativity Kevin Hilton; 9. Reviewing the art of crime - what, if anything, do criminals and artists/designers have in common? Lorraine Gamman and Maziar Raein; 10. Creativity in confinement Jennie Kaufman Singer; 11. Creativity and crime: how criminals use creativity to succeed Russell Eisenman; 12. So you want to become a creative genius? You must be crazy! Dean Keith Simonton; 13. Both sides of the coin?: personality, deviance, and creative behavior Luis Daniel Gascón and James C. Kaufman; 14. Neurosis: the dark side of emotional creativity James R. Averill and Elma P. Nunley; 15. Dangling from a tassel on the fabric of socially constructed reality: reflections on the creative writing process Liane Gabora and Nancy Holmes; 16. Creativity in the classroom: the dark side Arthur J. Cropley; 17. The dark side of creativity and how to combat it Robert J. Sternberg; 18. A systems engineering approach to counter terrorism Amihud Hari; 19. Malevolent innovation: opposing the dark side of creativity David H. Cropley; 20. Summary - the dark side of creativity - a differentiated model David H. Cropley.

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