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Conscious Cogn. 1996 Sep;5(3):381-93.

Imagery, creativity, and emergent structure.

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Department of Psychology, College of Liberal Arts, Texas A & M University, College Station 77843-4235, USA.


Recent advances in the field of creative cognition have helped to reveal the cognitive structures and processes that are involved in creative thinking and imagination. This article begins by reviewing recent studies of creative imagery that have explored the emergent properties of mental images. The geneplore model of creative cognition, which describes how preinventive structures such as creative mental images are generated and interpreted, is then discussed. In discussing this model and its implications, a distinction is made between aspects of creative imagery that reflect conscious, deliberate control and those that reflect the absence of such control, as illustrated particularly by the emergence of unanticipated structures in imagined forms. The intentional, structured qualities of creative thinking are then contrasted with its spontaneous, unstructured qualities. The article concludes by discussing the recent topics of chaotic cognition and creative realism and how they bear on the general issue of balancing structured and unstructured processes in creative endeavors.

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