Intelligence and creativity - friends or foes?

Do you want to know whether the IQ is linked with creativity? Do you think that to invent something great, you need high intelligence? Or do you think that too high an IQ is an obstacle when creating things? Experts often asked themselves the same questions. What were their conclusions? You could be surprised.

What does being creative mean

You are creative, if you get new ideas. Ideas, formulations, hypothesis, definitions, picture that no one else thought of in the given configuration. Ideas that fall outside the usual schema and move the relevant area forward. We must say that creativity is most often mentioned in scientific or artistic areas, although it can be also seen in business, politics of, for example, teaching. The general mistake is thinking that the discoveries must be major ones. That it not true, it is enough if they are new to us, if they go beyond our horizon or mental boundaries.

Levels of creativity

Experts define several types of creativity. For example, classification of creativity according to the level of "discovery" or "innovation" is interesting. It goes as follows:

  • expressive (spontaneous) – products coming naturally from a sudden idea or a sudden urge
  • innovative – product relating to regular habits with the intention of doing something less usual,
  • inventive – highly original input offering a completely new solution
  • emerging – a sign of genius

Full of ideas and functional

Another important factor relating to creativity is that the results of the creative process should meet two requirements. They should be original and they should also have a certain level of usefulness. For anything to be really new, it has to be useful (in a material, aesthetic or other manner). There are several original inventions the usefulness of which is at least debatable (e.g. torture tools). In these cases where the original idea goes against the society use the term anticreativity.

Creativity is a part of any intelligence

When we now understand how the modern psychology views creativity, we can ask about the relationship between intelligence and creativity. Possibly in a bit different way than we would have thought. The IQ is the general value of your ability to interpret information and arrive at solutions. One part of the intelligence viewed in this way is linked to the ability to learn terms, processes and plans. We learn that from our earliest childhood within our family and later on at school. At the same time we have to learn to apply these patterns of thinking to new situations and that brings us to the point where intellect meets creativity. For example, when we say 2 + 2 = 4, our intelligence should arrive at 4 + 4 = 8 (i.e. double of the original answer). This example clearly illustrates the relationship between IQ and creativity.

Intelligence as a tool for selection of the right solution

However, there are situations where the relationship between creativity and intelligence is quite opposite. Just imagine that you have to complete a certain creative task. Your imagination brings a lot of ideas which is a good thing. However, how to chose the right one? The creativity alone is not enough, judgement is required. Another aspect of intelligence is the ability to effectively filter solutions. A similar relationship holds between the availability of information and the ability to apply it in a correct manner. You can be good at obtaining information from various sources. And there are plenty of them these days. However, if you do not have a sufficiently trained intellect, you will be unable to chose the data that suits you problem. Or you can reach the positive result but it will take you too long. People with high IQs can use their thinking to choose the right solution quickly and well.

A high IQ does not mean creativity

So to answer the original question, anyone can come up with a good idea. It is not about intelligence. That is required in the second phase when you have to take the idea to a conclusion that will make sense, turn into practice or link to other things.

Scientific research has not proven a direct link between higher IQs and creativity. You can even find views that high intellect can be an obstacle for some creative activities. This can be illustrated on the example of one of the best known artist of the 20th century, Andy Warhol. While many would be happy to say that he was an artistic genius, his IQ was completely average 86. So if you are not happy with the result of you test, do not despair. You can still achieve great things.

Further reading