Openness to Experience. McCrae, R.R., & Sutin , A. R. (2009). Openness to Experience. In M.R. Leary and R.H. Hoyle (Eds.), Handbook of Individual Differences in Social Behavior (pp.257 – 273). New York: Guildford. McCrae & Sutin describe openness as:
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McCrae, R.R., & Sutin, A. R. (2009). Openness to Experience. In M.R. Leary and R.H. Hoyle (Eds.), Handbook of Individual Differences in Social Behavior (pp.257 – 273). New York: Guildford
“fundamentally an intrapsychic variable, associated with such esoteric phenomena as chills in response to sudden beauty, the experience of déjà vu and homesickness for the unknown”
Creativity measured by divergent thinking task alone
→emphasis on one dimension of creativity.
Not account for the different sub-processes
Wallas (1970) 4 stages preparation, incubation, illumination, and verification; convergent and divergent thought (Davis, (1992); Sternberg (1999)). Dacey (1989) Importance of the verification stage.
Selection of particular individual difference variables
(risk-taking, self-confidence, and tolerance of ambiguity (Amabile, 1983; Barron & Harrington, 1981; Batey & Furnham, 2006; Parnes, 1992))
→ independent correlations instead of a general picture of personality differences in creativity. Moreover few studies used FFM.
Low variability in creative ability/performance among the sample
- Creative Personality Scale (CPS, Gough, 1979) → Self report
- Story writing → Product
- List of hobbies → engagement in “creative” activities
- NEO-FFI (Costa & McCrae, 1989).
(Epstein et al.,1996).
- Scale of Depersonalization Experiences (SDPE) (Wolfradt).
- Scale of Interpersonal Intolerance of Ambiguity (SIA)
(Wolfradt & Rademacher, 1999).
- Problem-Solving Scale, (Cassidy & Long,1996).
O as a cognitive ability ??
Sternberg (1999): e.g.: psychodynamic, psychometric, cognitive,
What is the relationship between personality traits and cognitive processes involved in Creativity?
(E.g.: Openness to Experience, Tolerance for Ambiguity conceived as personality traits or cognitive processes)
Illustrating cognitive models:
Mednick’s (1962) Associative theory of the creative process:
One crucial component of the creative process is the ability to establish new associations.
Many different creativity test appeal to the ability to associate semantic information efficiently and flexibly (Gianotti et al. (2001).
Authors used semantically related/unrelated word pairs to test associative processing (bridging the associative gap meaningfully).
Vs: Simon’s (2001) thinking is creative when the product is both novel and valuable. Not consider the “meaningless fantasy” and the “word salad” associated with schizophrenia.
AESTHETIC CHILLS Creativity
a universal marker of Openness to Experience
Robert McCrae (2007)
“Aesthetic chills are transient emotional responses Creativityto music or other experiences of beauty” - .McCrae
Aesthetic chills have been described as “tingles”, “slight shudders”, “shivers down the spine”, “goose-bumps”, “ecstatic”, “a feeling where you could either laugh or cry or both at once”, “exhilaration”.
“brain tickling...similar to orgasm but not sexually or genetically located” (my girlfriend, referring to the effect on her of music by Leonard Cohen).
Usually begins in the neck or upper back, and sometimes spread to the rest of the body.
Often accompanied by piloerection (hair standing on end)
- typically experienced through the medium of music...and other art forms such as painting, poetry and theatrical performance.
Can also be induced by such stimuli from scenes in a movie to intellectual (including physics and maths) insights to physical exercise
Such persons as diverse as Darwin and Hitler have reported experiencing “goosebumps” as a consequence to hearing certain music.
“I acquired a strong taste for music, and used very often to time my walks so as to hear on weekdays the anthem in King’s College Chapel. This gave me intense pleasure, so that my backbone would sometimes shiver.” - Darwin (1887)
“At the age of twelve, I saw ... the first opera of my life, Lohengrin. In one instant I was addicted.” Hitler (1924) Mein Kampf
My first memory of experiencing “Aesthetic chills” was at the age of 10 or 11 at a public performance of the ballet “Swan Lake”.
It more than took me by surprise.
The sensation terrified me.
I didn’t know what was happening to me...and yet I felt joy and pleasure while making me cry at the same time.
I experienced a similar nerve-tingling sensation when at the age of 10 or 11 at a public performance of the ballet “Swan Lake”.
I first heard Carl Orff's “CarminaBurana” in the movie “Excalibur”
It has been suggested that unorthodox transition points or crescendos in music Sloboda (1991), and novel, startling or unexpected juxtapositions in a work of visual art and poetry are typical conditions for inducing the Aesthetic Chills or ecstatic shudders / shivers - Silvio (2005).
If there are specific conditions or “tricks” for provoking such responses then it is possible that skilled composers such as Mozart, painters such as Dali and demogogic orators like Hitler were aware of them and were able to employ them to great and sometimes devastating effect.
Inbar crescendos in music (2006) asks the question “Is a person who is ‘open’ to the environment...more susceptible to chills than someone who is ‘closed’ ?”
McCrae thinks so. He argues that “...the experience of chills in response to aesthetic stimulation is a universal... uniquely related to Openness to Experience.”
According to his study, in American samples, Item 188 (NEO-PI-R) - “Sometimes when I am reading poetry or looking at a work of art, I feel a chill or wave of excitement,” is one of the best indicators of total Openness, correlating .59 with the remaining 47 Openness items, and found to be the second best Openness item.
McCrae adds - “Aesthetic chills are particularly relevant to two facets of Openness, Aesthetics and Feelings. Individuals who generally score high in Openness tend to be particularly sensitive to art and beauty, and they experience a wide range of feelings and emotions.”
However, it should be noted that by excluding music from Item 188, opportunities may be lost for it to correlate highly with other factors, especially as most research on “Aesthetic Chills” focuses on the experience of music – Goldstein, (1980, Sloboda (1991), Panksepp (1995), Blood & Zatorre. (2001), Panksepp & Bernatzky (2002), Inbar, (2006)
2007 - McCrae in his Cross-cultural comparison (51 cultures), asks do Aesthetic Chills as a major indicator of high Openness score, find its correlates in other cultures ranging from European to Africa and Asia?
Translated into over 40 languages, Item 188 correlated .55 with total Openness in 50 of 51 cultures. It was also the best or second best item in 32 cultures, including not only most Western cultures, but also Brazil, Hong Kong, Japan, Lebanon, and Malaysia. With an item/total correlation of .52, it is the best indicator of Openness in the combined sample.
The Aesthetic chill question did not work well in African cultures, such as Botswana, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Uganda and Nigeria with low (or negative) correlations, ranging from .16 to .36, with ranks from 3rd to 26th. However, this is highly unlikely to indicate that Africans are insensitive to aesthetic experience, given the long history of African art, music and dance (after all much of popular Western music and dance has its roots in African-American culture).
McCrae suggests the most likely explanation - poor data quality and inadequate understanding of items relating to Openness (the African participants did not complete the questionnaire in their native language, leaving the NEO-PI-R instrument uncompleted)
Given these shortcomings is McCrae being premature in claiming “Aesthetic Chills” to be a universal marker of Openness to Experience?
Goldstein (1980) had previously argued from his survey of American subjects that half the population have experienced such aesthetic reactions, which suggests the experience is much more widespread and not just confined to those people with high Openness.
The subjective experience seem to have measurable physiological correlates and characteristic brain activation patterns. - Blood, A. J., & Zatorre, R. J. (2001), Panksepp, J., & Bernatzky, G. (2002).
Both Goldstein and Panksepp ask about the evolutionary origins of this apparent “aesthetic chills” response. Was there a survival function for this reaction?
Panksepp (1995) in his research, found chills were primarily induced by sad rather than happy music, particularly in females, suggesting an evolutionary origin whereby the separation call offspring in many species make when separated from their mother. induces a strong emotional maternal response, that may manifest as a chill. From this, he predicted that “people who exhibit the most chills will tend to be individuals of high emotional responsivity and sensitivity and have highly nurturant and socially agreeable personalities.
In subsequent analyses of ‘Big 5’ personality dimensions, Panksepp found “chills” correlated “only with ‘agreeableness’, suggesting that the phenomenon is related to pro-social, nurturant dynamics of individual emotional patterns” (Panksepp & Bernatzky, 2002).
McCrae disputes this finding by citing larger samples showing .08 Agreeableness compared with .55 Openness
McCrae does not consider the association of aesthetic chills with Openness to be surprising, given that highly Open individuals tend to score high on art appreciation and practice BUT more research is needed to discover why art has the power to induce intense physical responses such as sudden shivers.
If the aesthetic chills response does have “its evolutionary origins in the separation call, it has since become associated with an entirely different personality system, as humans diverged from their primate origins..” - McCrae
McCrae recommends both a replication of his cross-cultural survey, focusing on music, and cross-cultural laboratory studies of chills in music (glaringly omitted from his Item 188) as they might identify universal features of music (such as tending to occur at transitional points, giving rise to appraisals of novelty–complexity, Silvia, 2005) that are most likely to induce the response. He also suggests neuroscience, possibly applying neuroimaging techniques, investigate physiological correlates, contrasting, for example, aesthetic chills with those induced by the awesome or uncanny.
McCrae concludes by suggesting that states such as awe, fascination, and mystic ecstasy may be particularly related to Openness, and that such emotions are therefore worthy of research attention.
And finally...... survey, focusing on music, and cross-cultural laboratory studies of chills in music (glaringly omitted from his Item 188) as they might identify universal features of music (such as tending to occur at transitional points, giving rise to appraisals of novelty–complexity,
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