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Psychol Bull. 2003 Jul;129(4):475-94.

Scientific creativity as constrained stochastic behavior: the integration of product, person, and process perspectives.

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Department of Psychology, University of California, Davis 95616-8686, USA.


Psychologists have primarily investigated scientific creativity from 2 contrasting in vitro perspectives: correlational studies of the creative person and experimental studies of the creative process. Here the same phenomenon is scrutinized using a 3rd, in vivo perspective, namely, the actual creative products that emerge from individual scientific careers and communities of creative scientists. This behavioral analysis supports the inference that scientific creativity constitutes a form of constrained stochastic behavior. That is, it can be accurately modeled as a quasi-random combinatorial process. Key findings from both correlational and experimental research traditions corroborate this conclusion. The author closes the article by arguing that all 3 perspectives--regarding the product, person, and process--must be integrated into a unified view of scientific creativity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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