A POSITION PAPER: ADULT INTELLECTUAL DEVELOPMENT THEORY AND RESEARCH SUPPORTS THE CLAIM THAT CREATIVITY CAN BE TAUGHT AND ENHANCED IN OLDER LEARNERS
Creativity research is an important dimension of the adult intellectual development literature. In this regard, the term has been defined in diverse ways. For example, it has been conceptualized as a sensitivity to problems, deficiencies and gaps information; as the ability to formulate novel hypotheses; and has been related to communicatory excellence (McCracken, 1998).
Adams-Price (1998) defines creativity as a complex of traits, skills, and capabilities said to include curiosity, unconventional thinking, openness to experience and tolerance of ambiguity. Regardless of its definition, Adams-Price (1998) states that the early intellectual development literature assumed that creativity was a largely innate or immutable ability which some people had who were distinct from non-creative people. Further, this author states that it was also assumed that just as one's general intellectual skills declined with age, so too did one's ability to think creatively.
However McCracken (1998) reports that the very current research on creativity as an element of adult intellectual development has begun to focus more attention on social and environmental contributors to creativity. The result has been new definitions of the term and new understandings of its relation to intellectual functioning in older and elderly people.