In a column on The Creativity Post, Dr. John Baer surmises that creativity may not be a general trait, like intelligence, but a specific one, like expertise. From Dr. Baer’s post:
So which is creativity more like, expertise or intelligence? Thinking about creativity the way we think about expertise is more accurate because both are highly domain specific. Just as someone may be an expert in more than one field, someone may be creative in more than one area, but neither creativity nor expertise generalize broadly across domains. This has been born out in numerous studies looking at the actual creative products produced by people in different domains. The creativity of the stories participants write is unrelated to the creativity of the collages, math puzzles, and other artifacts they create—average correlations are just a little higher than zero—and most of what little shared variance there may be is attributable to differences in general intelligence and access to educational opportunities.
To become (or stay) creative, Dr. Baer argues, we need to exercise our different types of creativity, just like we do our different muscle groups. This theory seems to be somewhat controversial, but if it’s true it puts a dagger in the idea that creativity is just for “creative types.” That’s a thought that plays right into the definition of creativity we have around here.