Cultural influence on creativity
Kim, Kyung Hee
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With the passing of the Korean government’s gifted education act (Korean Educational Development Institute, 2003), fostering creativity, especially in the mathematics and science areas, has come to the forefront as an important element in the future of Korea’s economic prosperity in the global economy. According to Csikszentmihalyi (1988), creativity is a very complex interaction among a person, a field, and a culture. In keeping with this approach, a look at Asian culture in relation to its impact on creativity is in order. Although people may vary in their native capacity for creativity, it is in the individual’s interaction with the macrocosm where creative expression can be found. In East Asian cultures, including Korea, Confucianism is the core of the cultural framework. Therefore, this study explored the four principles of Confucianism and how they compare to creativity research in order to discover how East Asian culture influences creativity. In order to investigate the relationship between adherence to Confucianism and creativity, 184 Korean educators’ scores on a measure of Confucianism (Eastern-Western Perspective Scale) were compared with their scores on a measure of creativity (Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking-Figural). This study found that some elements of Confucianism, mainly Obedience and Hierarchy, Gender Inequality, Conformity, Suppression of Expression, and Work-Play Dichotomy, present cultural blocks to creativity in general. However, when creativity is broken into the two types of Innovative and Adaptive, Confucianism is found to be more negatively related to the Adaptive type than the Innovative type. This Adaptive type consists of Creative Strengths, Abstractness of Titles, and Elaboration.
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