Creativity and Abraham Maslow

by Leslie Zeigler

Abraham Maslow was a humanistic psychologist who believed that  in every person there is a strong desire to realize his or her full potential. He believed creativity was an aspect of personality.  He was different from other psychologists of his time in that he chose to study healthy individuals, rather than like  Freud, those with serious psychological issues.

He went on to clarify that he saw creativity as a special perceptiveness on the part of the individual. He said that creative people can see the raw, the fresh, the concrete, the generic, the abstract,   the categorized and the classified.   Other qualities he described as characteristic of creative people   include  independence, self-confidence, openness to experience, sense of humor and playful childlike attitude, a preference  for  complexity and acceptance of  disorder, and  a tolerance  for  ambiguity.

I think that what makes his beliefs so unique is that he does not link creativity with psychological problems.  Sometimes people believe that  creative people have to be suffering from depression or alcoholism.   Obviously this is a very complicated issue and there certainly have been famous artists and writers who have  suffered terribly.


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