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Hardcover | Out of Print | 256 pp. | 6 x 9 in | 48 b&w illus. | October 1992 | ISBN: 9780262061506
Paperback | $25.00 X | £19.95 | 256 pp. | 6 x 9 in | 48 b&w illus. | January 1996 | ISBN: 9780262560962
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Creative Cognition

Theory, Research, and Applications


Creative Cognition combines original experiments with existing work in cognitive psychology to provide the first explicit account of the cognitive processes and structures that contribute to creative thinking and discovery.

In separate chapters, the authors take up visualization, concept formation, categorization, memory retrieval, and problem solving. They describe novel experimental methods for studying creative cognitive processes under controlled laboratory conditions, along with techniques that can be used to generate many different types of inventions and concepts. Unlike traditional approaches, Creative Cognition considers creativity as a product of numerous cognitive processes, each of which helps to set the stage for insight and discovery. It identifies many of these processes as well as general principles of creative cognition that can be applied across a variety of different domains, with examples in artificial intelligence, engineering design, product development, architecture, education, and the visual arts.

Following a summary of previous approaches to creativity, the authors present a theoretical model of the creative process. They review research involving an innovative imagery recombination technique, developed by Finke, that clearly demonstrates that creative inventions can be induced in the laboratory. They then describe experiments in category learning that support the provocative claim that the factors constraining category formation similarly constrain imagination and illustrate the role of various memory processes and other strategies in creative problem solving.

Ronald A. Finke, Thomas B. Ward, and Steven M. Smith are all Associate Professors of Psychology at Texas A & M University.

About the Author

Thomas B. Ward is Professor of Psychology at the University of Alabama.


Creative Cognition presents what is probably the most nearly complete and thoroughly tested of the existing theories of creativity based upon the principles of cognitive science. The theory is compelling and the experiments ingenious, in an area that is very difficult to investigate. I highly recommend the book to behavioral and cognitive scientists interested in understanding the origins of creative ideas. A special bonus of the book is that it contains implications for developing creativity, which perhaps the authors will follow up in later work.”
Robert J. Sternberg, IBM Professor of Psychology and Education, Yale University
“The major contribution of this book, beyond the many original ideas that sparkle throughout the text, is its successful demonstration that the basic issues of creativity, previously relegated to mystifying pop psychology or cognitively barren psychometric approaches, can be successfully examined with the tools of cognitive psychology.”
Jonathan Schooler, Assistant Professor of Psychology, University of Pittsburgh
“Original and well articulated. . . . [A] benchmark for psychologists who are concerned to understand and explain one of the less tractable areas of human cognition. It can also be recommended as a rich source of practical ideas to anyone responsible for education and training in professions that depend on the regular exercise of creative thinking.”
John Richardson, Times Higher Education Supplement