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Two Kinds Of Creativity & When Each Peaks, According To New Study
By Mikelle Leow, 29 Apr 2019
Image via Shutterstock
Don’t be afraid of your creative juices running out as you get older—they’ll probably age like fine wine. A new scientific study suggests that there are two kinds of creativity, and each peaks at vastly different stages of your life.
A paper published on 26 April by researchers at Ohio State University and the University of Chicago suggests that “conceptual innovators” excel in their mid-20s, whereas “experimental innovators” perform their best in their 50s.
The scientists detail that conceptual innovators are more likely to be found in a pool of younger creatives, as they tend to conjure up radical ideas before they settle into their fields.
Those who are rarely described by peers as “creative,” though, might find their potential by their 50s, when they would have been more experienced with the knowledge to explore beyond their domains, and, in today’s terms, “go crazy” with it.
Authors Bruce Weinberg, professor of economics at Ohio State University, and David Galenson, professor of economics at the University of Chicago, backed up their study by analyzing 31 Nobel Prize laureates, as well as examining painters, novelists, poets, and scientists.
Conceptual innovators like Pablo Picasso, Albert Einstein, and T.S. Eliot all thrived when they were younger. If you fall under this category, you plan ahead, express your ideas specifically and create pretty structured goals before taking care to execute them properly. You also tend to come up with ideas quickly.
Late bloomers like Virginia Woolf, Paul Cézanne and Charles Darwin were experimental innovators who had longer down periods, and would come up with ideas based on experiences and past errors. If you belong to this group, you probably prefer to dip your toe before getting into the water and bide your time in developing ideas.
As for when exactly you’ll reach these stages, the researchers say conceptual thinkers peak between 25 and 29 years, while innovative thinkers do their most incredible work in their mid-50s.
In related news, there are apparently eight creative personalities. Find out which one you are by taking this science-based quiz.
[via Quartz, cover image via Shutterstock]
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