Creativity in Eastern and Western Civilizations: The Lessons of Historiometry

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abstract

What are the fundamental factors that promote highly influential creativity? How do these factors differ in Western and Far Eastern civilizations? Many researchers have addressed these questions using historiometrics, a method that tests nomothetic hypotheses about human behaviour by subjecting historical and biographical data to objective and quantitative analyses. These investigations may entail either aggregate-level analyses (e.g., generational time series of creative activity) or individual-level analyses (e.g., cross-sectional studies of creative achievement). Moreover, the empirical findings in each of these two approaches fall into two categories of East–West comparisons: (i) shared variables and convergent results and (ii) shared variables and divergent results. After reviewing representative findings in each of these categories, we discuss what the results imply about the nature of high-impact creativity in the East and West and also explore areas of potential future historiometric research.

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