Strength in research
Still, many psychologists don’t realize
The division showcases much of its work in its quarterly
creativity is a research specialty, something
the division’s members hope to change, says
Div. 10 Past-president James C. Kaufman,
PhD, professor of educational psychology at
the University of Connecticut’s Neag School
of Education. “Thirty years ago, nobody cared
about creativity,” says Kaufman. “Now, it’s so
popular with the average person that people
think it can’t be a serious topic that’s studied
in a scientific way.”
That research includes understanding how
our brains generate creative ideas, how best to
use art as therapy and how to nurture creativity in both teachers
and students for optimal learning.
journal, which continues to gain influence, ranking in the
top 20 for impact of all experimental psychology journals
The division gives students a chance to participate in its
journal reviews and editorial board, with mentors to guide their
work. Special issues on neuroscience, education and industrial/
organizational psychology help draw in psychologists from
other fields who may not realize that creativity is an area of
research in itself.
To further promote its work, the division overhauled its
website last year to include a list of research labs, books and
articles on creativity, aesthetics and the arts.
Meeting of the minds
Div. 10 also lends expertise to APA work on education,
including the association’s Coalition for Psychology in Schools
and Education, which published its Top 20 Principles from
Psychology for Teaching and Learning in May. Div. 10 members
lobbied hard for number eight: “Creativity can be fostered.”
“According to principle eight, the idea that you’re either a
creative person or you’re not is not correct,” says Rena Subotnik,
PhD, of the Center for Psychology in Schools and Education.
“It’s important for kids to exercise being more creative. It’s like
Division members say the diversity of their close-knit
everything else in school that you practice for improvement,
and is a very important part of children’s development.”
Div. 10 is also working with the coalition on a video about
creativity in the classroom that they hope to post on the APA
website in early 2016.
fellowship is part of the group’s attraction and fosters
multidisciplinary, collaborative thinking.
“It’s always interesting to spend time with Div. 10 people
because there’s every type of field and subfield coming together
to share a common interest,” says student representative
Alexander McKay, who studies industrial-organizational
psychology at Penn State University.
Creativity in practice
Many division members flourish in their own artistic endeavors.
Steven Pritzker, division president and professor at Saybrook
University, was a television comedy writer for decades before
turning to psychology in 1990. Longtime member Paula
Thomson, PhD, of California State University, Northridge, is a
dance teacher and a choreographer, and Pablo Tinio, PhD, of
Queens College was a professional photographer. Tobi Zausner,
PhD, is a visual artist. Many members are prolific writers;
current works include those of two members-at-large: Scott
Barry Kaufman’s “Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined” (2013) and
Danny Wedding’s “Movies and Mental Illness: Using Films to
Understand Psychopathy” (2014).
Members’ passion for creativity inspires great camaraderie.
The group’s lively listserv includes contributions by many of the
field’s top researchers who take time to respond to requests for
information and for help with research. The chance to get to
know them is a big plus for student members, McKay says.
“We hold a fairly raucous social hour off-site at APA’s
Annual Convention and we encourage anyone to show up —
people can bring friends from other divisions, spouses, kids
and random hangers on, and there might be hundreds of
people. Given that we don’t have [that many] members, we get
shocking crowds,” Silvia says. n
“How can we discover creative promise in our children
and our youth? How can we promote the development
of creative personalities? How can leaders with
imagination and vision be discovered? Can such qualities
be developed? If those qualities can be promoted by
educational procedures, what are those procedures?”
— J.P. Guilford, former APA and Div. 10 president, in his
1950 APA presidential address. His speech is still quoted
by creativity researchers as they tackle these questions.