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Keywords:

  • creativity;
  • cultural differences;
  • East Asia;
  • innovation;
  • social norms

abstract

This Editors' Forum –‘Creativity East and West’– presents five papers on the question of cultural differences in creativity from the perspective of different research literatures, followed by two integrative commentaries. The literatures represented include historiometric, laboratory, and organizational studies. Investigation of cultural influences through country comparisons and priming manipulations, focusing on how people perform creatively and how they assess creativity. This introduction notes parallels in the findings across these research perspectives, suggesting some cultural universals in creativity and some systematic differences. Many differences can be explained in terms of the model that creativity means a solution that is both novel/original and useful/appropriate, yet that Western social norms prioritize novelty whereas Eastern norms prioritize usefulness – an account which predicts cultural differences would arise in contexts that activate social norms. The commentaries elaborate this argument in terms of processes – at the micro cognitive level and at the macro societal level – through which creativity occurs.