Creativity is also for older adults, but in a different way: study

Source: Xinhua| 2019-04-28 01:25:25|Editor: ZX
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WASHINGTON, April 27 (Xinhua) -- A study showed that creativity is not just for the young, and there are two different life cycles of creativity.

The findings, based on 31 winners of the Nobel Prize in economics, showed the early peak of creativity took place in their mid-20s while the later peak in their mid-50s.

The research, published in a special issue of this week's De Economist, supports the previous work that found similar patterns in the arts and other sciences.

"Many people believe that creativity is exclusively associated with youth, but it really depends on what kind of creativity you're talking about," said Bruce Weinberg, lead author of the study and professor of economics at The Ohio State University.

The Nobel Prize winners who did their most groundbreaking work early in their career tended to be "conceptual" innovators, who think "outside the box" to challenge conventional wisdom and come up with new ideas suddenly.

But there is another kind of creativity found among "experimental" innovators, according to the study. These innovators accumulate knowledge and find groundbreaking ways to analyze, interpret and synthesize that information into new ways of understanding.

The long periods of trial and error required for important experimental innovations make them tend to occur late in one's career.