Joy Paul Guilford – One of the founders of the Psychology of Creativity

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(March 7, 1897, Marquette, Nebraska, USA – November 26, 1987, Los Angeles) (Aged 90)
Nationality: United States
Category: Scientists
Occupation: Psychologist
Specification: Author of a three-dimensional model of the intellect and the concept of the Divergent Thinking. Applied psychology: psychometrics. One of the founders of the Psychology of Creativity.
Gender: Male
Family: His wife – Ruth, his daughter – Joan S. McGuire (Author of the book about her father “An Odyssey of the SOI Mode”).
Education: Guilford graduated from the University of Nebraska. (1918-1924). In 1924 he entered the psychology Ph.D. program at Cornell University, where he studied under Edward Titchener and Kurt Koffka. He was awarded the Ph.D. in 1927.
Career: Guilford taught at the University of Kansas (1927 – 1928), worked as Associate Professor at University of Nebraska (1928 – 1940) and Psychology professor at the University of Southern California (1940 – 1967). In 1941 he entered the U.S. Army and served as Director of Psychological Research Unit No. 3 at Santa Ana Army Air Base.
Major contributions:
1. Structure of Intellect (SOI) or (SI): three-dimensional model.
Guilford proposed that intelligence is not a unitary concept and introduced a three-dimensional theoretical model of the Structure of the intellect, according to which the intellect may be represented by three aspects:
– operation (cognition, memory, divergent production, convergent production, evaluation),
– products (units, classes, relations, systems, transformations, and implications),
– content (visual, auditory, symbolic, semantic, behavioral).
The 5 x 6 x 5 figure provides 150 possible abilities (1955). The final version of the SOI model (1988) was resembled as a cube with 3 dimesions, or 6 x 5 x 6 figure. In this model Guilford introduced some new operations (cognition, memory recording, memory retention, convergent production, divergent production, and evaluation). That yields 180 possible unique abilities, which are correlated with each other.
2. Creativity. Guilford in his 1950 American Psychological Association (APA) presidential address emphasized the central significance of creative talent for industry, science, arts and education and the need for more research into the nature of creativity. He developed a theory of creativity, in which he described creativity as sensitivity to problems (1950); as divergent thinking and ability to generate multiple ideas (1959), creation of new patterns, a transformation of knowledge and meaning or use the functions of objects in a new way (1962, 1967).
3. Divergent thinking. Guilford first proposed the concept of Divergent Thinking in the 1950s and later introduced its developed model as the main ingredient of creativity (1976). Thus he directly associated divergent thinking with creativity, appointing it several characteristics:
1. Fluency (the ability to produce great number of ideas or problem solutions).
2. Flexibility (the ability to simultaneously propose a variety of approaches to a specific problem).
3. Originality (the ability to produce new, original ideas).
4. Elaboration (the ability to systematize and organize the details of an idea in a head and carry it out).
He also emphasized the distinction between convergent and divergent thinking.
4. Psychometric study of human intelligence. Guilford is one of the leaders of the psychometric school of research on intelligence, creativity and personality. He was a pioneer in the development of a system of psychological tests for the study of productive thought and creative abilities of the individual. He designed numerous tests that measured divergent or creative thinking and the intellectual ability of creative people.
Guilford’s methods have been widely used with the practical aim of identifying the creative potentialities of engineers and scientific workers and gifted students.
5. Honors and awards: President of the Psychometric Society(1938); President of the Western Psychological Association (1946); President of the American Psychological Association (1949); Doctor of Laws (University of Nebraska.1952); PhD, Sociology (University of Southern California, 1962), Gold Medal of the American Psychological Foundation (1983).

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