Creativity and Consciousness Chapter uri icon


  • Addressing rival theories about the possible role of consciousness in creativity, this chapter uses theory and experimental evidence to argue that creativity requires interactive collaboration of conscious and unconscious processes. Creative impulses may originate in the unconscious but require conscious processing to edit and integrate them into a creative product. We review experiments showing that creativity declines sharply when consciousness is preoccupied (e.g., improvising jazz guitar while counting backwards by six, or drawing with colored pencils while listening closely to music). These findings contradict the popular view that consciousness is irrelevant or an impediment to the creative process, but they fit well with recently emerging understandings of the special capabilities of conscious thought.

author list (cited authors)

  • Baumeister, R. F., Schmeichel, B. J., & DeWall, C. N.

citation count

  • 5

complete list of authors

  • Baumeister, Roy F||Schmeichel, Brandon J||DeWall, C Nathan

Book Title

  • The Philosophy of Creativity

publication date

  • January 1, 2014 11:11 AM