Creativity means intelligence

Summary of some essential points
Authors: Mathilde Schifferl & Patricia Turner

Keywords related to intelligence and creativity


Intelligence is a relatively uniform ability to achieve intellectual performance. However, this ability is an abstraction derived from observed behavior.

Intelligence tests measure e.g. ...
... the understanding of the meaning of words, the knowledge of words and their meaning, as well as their use in conversation; the rapid production of words; numeracy; spatial imagination; the memory capacity; the speed of comparing visual configurations and reasoning.

C.E. Spearman, L.L. Thurstone and R.B. Cattel thought up Basic models for intelligence research - Spearman the general factor model, Thurstone the primary factor model and Cattell the multiple factor model.

Regarding the relationship between intelligence and the brain, it has been found that there is no relationship between intelligence and brain size. The number of neurons, the number of synapses, the number of nerve cells and their speed of performance do not play a major role either. However, it was concluded that less intelligent people activate their brains more than intelligent people. This was confirmed by both PET (positron emission tomography) and EEG examinations.


Definition of creativity by Drevdahl: "Creativity is the human ability to produce thought results of any kind, which are essentially new and were previously unknown to the person who produced them." (Roth, 1994, p.181).

Creativity and intelligence are not identical, but they are closely related to each other. American psychologists tried to determine the creativity of important people in the form of the intelligence quotient IQ. Terman developed the Binet test, which related to language and thinking skills.

J.P. Guilford expanded and changed the creativity test. In addition to the linguistic talent, the following were decisive for him: quick recognition of the problem, new idea development, flexibility of recognition, finding alternatives, unconventional thinking.

Results of previous research on the connection between creativity and intelligence have shown that intelligence takes over the basic processes in the cognitive area, creativity is responsible for the more complex tasks. (see Roth, 1994, p.183)

R.J. In their research, Sternberg and Lubart came up with 6 main elements that are decisive for creativity: intelligence, knowledge, thinking style, personality, motivation, environment. Roth points out that creative people have favorable conditions in the neural network of the prefrontal cortex and that the limbic system plays a greater role in this.


Roth, G. (2001). Feel, think, act. How the brain controls our behavior. Frankfurt a. M .: Suhrkamp.