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Creativity has always been a part of my life. From a very young age, I fell in love with both writing and acting. In high school, I surrounded people with similar passions, and I noticed a somewhat disturbing pattern: it seemed to me that these people, most of whom I dearly loved, carried around far more baggage than others. Not long after I realized this, I saw this quote from Ursula LeGuin: “The creative adult is the child who survived.” I began to wonder if there was a connection between creative expression and a person’s history. (Of course, looking at the full quote does somewhat dull the point. Ask Nora about that and the citation for this.)

I decided to dig into the psychology behind creativity to find the answers to several question about myself and the people I cared about. I wanted to know what being creative actually meant, and what that trait did to define my personality as a whole. I wanted to know what factors contributed to someone being creative, especially when it comes to having a traumatic past. I was also curious about the connection between creativity and mental illness, and if there was an actual cause and effect relationship, or if it was more complex than that.

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Creativity is defined in the Merriam Webster Dictionary as “the ability to make new things or think of new ideas.” This definition would sit well with most psychologists and laypeople; However, Scientists have come to include what they call Little-C creativity, “which is often used as an indicator of mental health, [and] includes everyday problem-solving and the ability to adapt to change,” and Big-C creativity, seen in individuals like Albert Einstein or Pablo Picasso, which “occurs when a person solves a problem or creates an object th…

…cience News 134.10: 151. JSTOR. Web. 14 Nov. 2013.

“Creativity.” Merriam-Webster Dictionary. 2013. Web. 11 Nov. 2013

Forgeard, Marie. “Perceiving Benefits After Adversity: The Relationship Between Self-reported Posttraumatic Growth and Creativity.” Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts 7.3 (2013): 245-64. PsycArticles. Web. 14 Nov. 2013

Kersting, Karen. “What Exactly is Creativity?” Monitor On Psychology 34.10 (2003): 40. Web. 11 Nov. 2013.

Schuldberg, D. “Mental Health and Affective Disorders.”Vol. 2. Encyclopedia of Creativity. Ed. Mark A. Runco and Steven R. Pritzker. 2nd ed. Waltham, Massachusetts: Academic Press, 2012. 2 vols. 94. Print.

Seeling, Tina. InGenius: A Crash Course on Creativity. New York, New York: Harper Collins, 2012. Print.

Smith Bailey, Deborah. “The ‘Sylvia Plath Effect.’” Monitor On Psychology 34.10 (2003): 42. Web. 11 Nov. 2013.

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