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Is Creativity Acquired or Inherited?

When we talk about the notions and characteristics of creativity, it is important to consider the origin of the term to get a clearer and deeper understanding of the concept. So, when we talk about creativity, do we know if it is a genetic trait, or can it be learned?

In this article, we’re going to discuss the origin of creativity. Before, we begin, let’s understand the meaning of both the concepts- inherited creativity and acquired creativity. When we assume that creativity is inherited, we are putting up the assertion that we get creative genes from our parents implying that when we’re born, we are gifted with certain genes which make us creative.

On the contrary, when we assume that creativity is acquired, we are claiming that over the years, as we grow up, we can acquire creative traits through learning processes and creativity doesn’t necessarily have to run in the genes for us to be creative people.

Having cleared the meaning of both the assumptions, let’s dive deeper into the analysis of both the presumptions.

Creativity as an inherited concept:

When we say that a person is creative, we tend to say that ‘it runs in the family. For instance, a world-famous singer gives birth to a child. Most people assume that the child will have a beautiful voice and a thrill for singing just like mother. However, it is a generalization of individual differences which is biased. But why? Even if the mother of the child is a creative person with the skills of a talented singer, the child is born with his own set of interests and the things he starts being fond of as he grows up. This doesn’t put aside the conjecture that the child will not be a singer one day because he can, but that entirely depends on his set of beliefs, interests, and choices. Genes and acquired traits do affect our lives both biologically and physically. However, in terms of creativity genes don’t necessarily specify any particular trait.

Creativity is an acquired concept:

A child’s environment highly affects his choices, beliefs, and interests. Let’s understand the role of acquired traits with the example of Sarah, who is born in a family which has a long line of doctors. As a child, Sarah didn’t always get to spend much time with her parents as they were busy doctors. As she grew up, she started developing an interest in painting. After taking several art classes, she became proficient in the matter. Although owing to her family history, it was expected of her to pursue medical science, she chose to pursue art. In this case, we see how genetic traits can change in the presence of external stimuli which influence our interests. Even though Sarah hadn’t acquired any genetic traits related to art. However, after being exposed to the stimuli, which in this case is art, she started thinking creatively in the activity. This example is just one of the many examples which put forwards the notion that to be a creative person, you don’t necessarily have to inherit genes, you can always learn new creative things as you grow up.

The Bottom Line:

Creativity is a spectrum. It is a blend or a conglomerate of both genes and learning. A person can either learn creativity to inherit it as it a subjective concept depending upon individual differences. Creativity is something that we all have inside us subconsciously, and we make conscious efforts to acquire it with learned patterns and skills.