Creativity styles and personality characteristics

Claudia Elizabeth Alter, Fordham University


Individuals express their creativity differently depending on their creative style. Creativity research has suggested that there may be distinct personality patterns linked to specific creative styles. The present study attempts to distinguish creative styles in terms of personality characteristics. The sample was composed of 65 eighth-grade students who attend a middle school in a rural area in New Jersey. Creative style was evaluated with the Kirton Adaption-Innovation Inventory (KAI). The KAI is designed to measure the degree to which individuals are “adaptive” or “innovative” in their cognitive style. Personality characteristics were evaluated using the Personality Research Form-E (PRF-E). Descriptive statistics were calculated followed by Pearson correlations to determine the interrelationships between the variables. A multivariate analysis of variance design was used to assess the statistical significance of the effects of creative style and gender on the PRF-E personality characteristics. A discriminant function analysis was conducted to measure the degree to which the PRF-E variables contributed to predicting whether individuals were more innovative or more adaptive. Separate univariate analyses of variance were computed to compare the various mean scores for adaptors and innovators. The results indicated that the personality characteristics of individuals were significantly different depending on whether they had an adaptive or innovative creative style. Adaptors tended to have high needs for cognitive structure and order, with a low need for impulsivity. Innovators tended to have high needs for autonomy and impulsivity, with a low need for cognitive structure. Significant differences were not found between adaptors and innovators with regard to the personality characteristics of affiliation, social recognition, change, and defendence. Significant differences were not found between males and females with regard to the personality characteristics. The results suggest that the educational methods and teaching styles of classroom instruction should vary so that adaptors and innovators may optimally benefit from instruction. Adaptors may be most productive when they derive their answers from an existing paradigm, receive specific assignments, structure, and support. Innovators may work best when they are spontaneous and allowed to function independently.

Subject Area

Personality|Cognitive therapy

Recommended Citation

Alter, Claudia Elizabeth, "Creativity styles and personality characteristics" (2001). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3003020.