Are intelligence and creativity the same thing?

Creativity cannot be measured

There are many intelligence tests. Some are good predictors of professional and academic performance. Despite all the criticism, these tests have proven themselves to some extent. Intelligence, it seems, is measurable; Creativity, on the other hand, does not.

"We used different tests on children, but the results were very different in each case," says Ernst Hany, personality psychologist at the University of Erfurt. "One and the same child had sometimes very high and sometimes very low creativity values."

Apparently, each test measures slightly different properties. Creativity is therefore not a particularly stable trait. If you have a lot of ideas today, you won't think of anything tomorrow. "That is why I am skeptical about the informative value of individual creativity tests," says the social psychologist Jens Förster from the University of Amsterdam.

Even a person's intelligence says little about their creative potential. In the case of average talented people, creativity and intelligence values ​​are relatively closely related. "But that's not the case with highly intelligent people. They can be very creative or just average," says Hany. Scientists cannot predict whether someone will one day become a great lyric poet or a gifted physicist. A person's intelligence is a necessary but not a sufficient prerequisite for creative top performance.

The creativity researchers still lack suitable measuring instruments. That's because creativity is a colorful, elusive phenomenon. "Ultimately," says Hany, "it cannot be clearly stated whether an achievement is creative or not." Basically, the consumer decides whether a new book or a new household appliance is considered original or innovative.

On the next page: Can creativity be trained?