ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2021, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (4): 707-722.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2021.00707

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Wisdom minds with creative wings: Igniting creative dynamics focusing on its interest cultivation

ZHANG Yakun1,3, CHEN Ning1, CHEN Lung An2(), SHI Jiannong1,4,5,6()   

  1. 1Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
    2China Creativity Training Development Association, Taipei 10462, China
    3Beijing Institute of Technology, Beijing 100081, China
    4University of Chinese Academy of Science, Beijing 100049, China
    5Key Laboratory of Behavioral Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
    6Department of Learning and Philosophy, Aalborg University, Denmark
  • Received:2020-07-27 Online:2021-04-15 Published:2021-02-22


Creativity is an interwoven system, encompassing individuals, groups, society, culture, etc. The cultivation of creativity should also be systematic. However, we must distinguish the priorities when it comes to creativity cultivation. Otherwise, we would be putting the cart before the horse. In this paper, we integrated some creativity-relevant theories to generate practical advice on the challenges of supporting creativity within the classroom. Based on previous research on creativity, we put forth the “Butterfly Theory of Nurturing Creativity” to give a bird’s eye view of nurturing creativity. In this theory, the core and premise of being creative are both to have creative impulses or creative dynamics (i.e., dynamic systems). We generalized the conditions supporting the dynamic systems into “two forewings” named capability and vitality (i.e., the supportive system). At the level of capability, creativity calls for general cognitive ability, multimethod enlightenment, attention to metacognition, and efficient knowledge information management. At the level of vitality, creative dynamics also rely on the satisfaction of basic psychological needs, the healthy development of personal traits, and reasonably supportive social interaction in an inclusively social and cultural environment. Besides, if an individual wants to fly freely in a creative life, he also needs “two hindwings” (conducting daily creative thinking and problem solving; forming creative habits and a creative personality) that should be constantly improved in everyday life to adjust the balance (i.e., the regulating system). The ‘two forewings’ mainly involve the essential prerequisites for developing human ability and vitality (necessary cognitive, non-cognitive, and socio-cultural conditions). In contrast, the ‘two hindwings’ mainly involve methods, habits, and beliefs related to creative problem solving and innovative personality formation. Whether two forewings or two hindwings, all factors are converged into the one core factor, the creative dynamics. Teachers cannot foster children’s creativity unless they can intrigue children’s creative impulses—no creative dynamics, no creative behavior. We argue that people who are creative show motivation to make novel and appropriate products in their domains of interest. The cultivation of creativity is not just to teach children specific creative methods but to teach them creatively by improving children’s creative impulses and making them more willing to invest their time and energy (creative dynamics) into innovative outcomes. Although education cannot directly change one’s creativity, it can influence their preferences, vitality, attitude, which are closely related to the creative dynamics toward being creative and concurrently encourage children to be engaged in creative activities. These will ultimately affect their future achievements. Above all, creativity cannot be taught unless teachers find ways to intrigue their students’ creative impulses. Intrinsic motivation, like interest, is the most excellent autonomous motivator. The key points of this paper are to find what the essence of interest or fun is and how to raise it. The nature of fun or humor is reasonable in a sense but beyond expectation (i.e., incongruity-resolution). Similarly, to make the process of creativity cultivation full of fun or humor, we need to design unexpected-apprehensible scenarios constantly,from them flows a host of unexpected consequences. These are the first step of effectively igniting children’s creative dynamics. In order to maintain the creativity-related flow experience, we need to make the well-designed challenging creative tasks match the students’ abilities as much as possible so that children can still in the flow channel, that is, in a good positive mood or optimal experience to improve creativity. Combining theory with practice, this paper also shows a general way to activate fun or interest in the classroom.

Key words: BSI model, the butterfly theory of nurturing creativity, intelligence current, fun theory, incongruent- resolution theory, the humor style model, the dynamics of flow model

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