Creative thought as a non-Darwinian evolutionary process

Gabora, Dr. Liane M. (2005) Creative thought as a non-Darwinian evolutionary process. [Journal (Paginated)] (In Press)

Full text available as:



Selection theory requires multiple, distinct, simultaneously-actualized states. In cognition, each thought or cognitive state changes the 'selection pressure' against which the next is evaluated; they are not simultaneously selected amongst. Creative thought is more a matter of honing in a vague idea through redescribing successive iterations of it from different real or imagined perspectives; in other words, actualizing potential through exposure to different contexts. It has been proven that the mathematical description of contextual change of state introduces a non-Kolmogorovian probability distribution, and a classical formalism such as selection theory cannot be used. This paper argues that creative thought evolves not through a Darwinian process, but a process of context-driven actualization of potential.

Item Type:Journal (Paginated)
Keywords:creativity, evolution, selection, universal Darwinism, determinism, potentiality, context, stream of thought
Subjects:Biology > Evolution
Psychology > Cognitive Psychology
Philosophy > Philosophy of Mind
Psychology > Evolutionary Psychology
Biology > Theoretical Biology
ID Code:4647
Deposited By:Gabora, Dr. Liane
Deposited On:19 Dec 2005
Last Modified:11 Mar 2011 08:56

References in Article

Select the SEEK icon to attempt to find the referenced article. If it does not appear to be in cogprints you will be forwarded to the paracite service. Poorly formated references will probably not work.

Accardi, L., Fedullo, A. (1982). On the statistical meaning of complex numbers in quantum mechanics, Il Nuovo Cimento , 34(7), 161-172.

Aerts, D. (1982). Description of many physical entities Without the paradoxes encountered in quantum mechanics. Foundations of Physics, 12, 1131-1170. [pdf]

Aerts, D. (1986). A possible explanation for the probabilities of quantum mechanics, Journal of Mathematical Physics , 27, 202-210. [pdf]

Aerts, D., & Aerts, S. (1994). Application of quantum statistics in psychological studies of decision processes, Foundations of Science, 1, 85-97. [pdf]

Aerts, D., Aerts, S., Broekaert, J., & Gabora, L. (2000). The violation of Bell inequalities in the macroworld. Foundations of Physics, 30(9), 1387-1414. [quant-ph/0007044]] [pdf]

Aerts, D., Broekaert, J. and Gabora, L. (in press). A case for applying an abstracted quantum formalism to cognition. In R. Campbell (Ed.), No Matter, Never Mind, Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Aerts, D., D'Hondt, E., & Gabora, L. (2000). Why the disjunction in quantum logic is not classical. . Foundations of Physics, 30(9), 1473-1480. [quant-ph/0007041] [pdf]

Aerts, D., Durt, T., Grib, A. & Van Bogaert, B., & Zapatrin, A. (1992). Quantum structures in macroscopical reality. International Journal of Theoretical Physics, 32, 489-498. [pdf]

Aerts, D. & Van Bogaert, B. (1993). A mechanistic classical laboratory situation with a quantum logic structure. International Journal of Theoretical Physics, 31, 1839-1848. [pdf]

Amabiles, T. M. (1996). Creativity in context. Boulder CO: Westview.

Boden, M. (1990). The creative mind: Myths and mechanisms . London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson.

Boyd, R. & Richerson, P. (2001). Built for speed, not for comfort: Darwinian theory and human culture. History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences, 23, 423-463.

Burnet, F. M. (1959). The clonal selection theory of acquired immunity. London: Cambridge University Press.

Calvin, W. H. (1996a). How brains think . New York: Basic Books.

Calvin, W. H. (1996b). The cerebral code. Cambridge MA: MIT Press.

Calvin, W. H. & Bickerton, D. (2000). Lingua ex machina: Reconciling Darwin and Chomsky with the human brain. Cambridge MA: MIT Press.

Campbell D. T. (1960). Blind variation and selective retention in creative thought as in other knowledge processes. Psychological Review, 67, 380-400.

Campbell D. T. (1965). Variation and selective retention in socio-cultural evolution. In H. R. Barringer, G. I. Blanksten, & R. W. Mack (Eds.), Social Change in Developing Areas: A Reinterpretation of Evolutionary Theory. Cambridge, MA Schenkman.

Campbell, D. T. (1987). Evolutionary epistomology. In G. Radnitzky & W. W. Bartley III (Eds.), Evolutionary Epistomology, Rationality, and the Sociology of Knowledge . LaSalle, IL: Open Court.

Campbell, D.T. (1990). Levels of organization, downward causation, and the selection-theory approach to evolutionary epistemology. In Greenberg & Tobach (Eds.), Theories of the Evolution of Knowing. Hillsdale NJ: Erlbaum.

Churchland, P. S. and Sejnowski, T. (1992). The computational brain. Cambridge MA: MIT Press.

Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1996). Creativity . New York: Harper.

Cziko, G. (1997). Without miracles: Universal selection theory and the second Darwinian revolution. Cambridge MA: MIT Press.

Cziko, G. (1998). From blind to creative: In defense of Donald Campbell's selectionist theory of human creativity. Journal of Creative Behavior, 32(3), 192-212.

Dennett, D. (1995). Darwin's Dangerous Idea. New York: Simon and Schuster.

Edelman, G. (1987). Neural Darwinism: The theory of neuronal group selection . New York: Basic Books.

Edelman, G. (2000). Bright air, brilliant fire: On the matter of the mind . New York: Basic Books.

Felman, D. H. (1999). The development of creativity. In R. J. Sternberg (Ed.), Handbook of Creativity (pp. 169-186). New York: Cambridge University Press.

Felman, D. H., Csikszentmihalyi, M., & Gardner, M. (1994). Changing the world: A framework for the study of creativity . Westport CT: Praeger.

Findlay, C. S., & Lumsden, C. J (1988). The creative mind: Toward an evolutionary theory of discovery and innovation. Journal of Social and Biological Structures, 11, 3-55.

Fisher, R. A. (1930). The genetical theory of natural selection. Clarendon: Oxford University Press.

Gabora, L. (2000). Toward a theory of creative inklings. In R. Ascott (Ed.), Art, Technology, and Consciousness. Bristol, UK: Intellect Press. [pdf]

Gabora (2001). Cognitive mechanisms underlying the origin and evolution of culture . Doctoral thesis, Free University of Brussels. [pdf]

Gabora, L. (2002a). The beer can theory of creativity. In P. Bentley & D. Corne (Eds.), Creative Evolutionary Systems (pp. 147-161). San Francisco CA: Morgan Kauffman. [pdf]

Gabora, L. (2002b). Cognitive mechanisms underlying the creative process. In T. Hewett & T. Kavanagh (Eds.), Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on Creativity and Cognition (pp. 126-133). October 13-16, Loughborough University, UK.

Gabora, L. (2003). Contextual focus: A cognitive explanation for the cultural transition of the Middle/Upper Paleolithic. In R. Alterman & D. Kirsh (Eds.) Proceedings of the 25th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, Boston MA, July 31-August 2. Hillsdale NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Gabora, L. (2004). Ideas are not replicators but minds are. Biology and Philosophy, 19(1), 127-143. [pdf]

Gabora, L. (in prep). Cognitive mechanisms underlying the evolution of a creative idea.

Gabora, L. & Aerts, D. (2002). Contextualizing concepts using a mathematical generalization of the quantum formalism, Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Artificial Intelligence, 14(4), 327-358. [quant-ph/0205161] [ pdf]

Gabora, L. (in press) Self-other organization: Why early life did not evolve through natural selection. Journal of Theoretical Biology, accepted.

Gabora, L. & Aerts, D. (2005). Evolution as context-driven actualization of potential: Toward an interdisciplinary theory of change of state. Interdisc. Sci. Rev. 30(1), 69-88. [nlin.AO/0510077] [pdf]

Gould, S. J. (1991). Bully for Brontosaurus: Reflections in Natural History (pp. 63-66). New York: W. W. Norton & Company.

Gruber, H. E. (1989). The evolving systems approach to creative work. In D. B. Wallace & H. E. Gruber (Eds.) Creative People at Work (pp. 3-24). New York: Oxford University Press.

Haldane, J. B. S. (1932). The causes of evolution. New York: Longman.

Hallpike, C. R. (1986). The principles of social evolution. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Hinton, G. E. & J. A. Anderson. (1981). Parallel models of associative memory . Hillsdale NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Howard-Jones, P. A. & Murray, S. (2003). Ideational productivity, focus of attention, and context. Creativity Research Journal, 15(2&3), 153-166.

Hull, D. L., Langman, R. E., & Glenn, S. S. (2001). A general account of selection: Biology, immunology, and behavior. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 24(3), 511-573.

Jeffreys, M. (2000). The meme metaphor. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine , 43(2), 227-242.

Jerne, N. (1967). Antibodies and learning: selection versus instruction. In G. Quarton, T. Melnechuk, & F. Schmitt (Eds.), The Neurosciences: A Study Program (pp. 200-205). New York: Rockefeller University Press.

Karmiloff-Smith, A. (1992). Beyond modularity: A developmental perspective on cognitive science, Cambridge MA: MIT Press.

Kauffman, S. A. (1993). Origins of order . New York: Oxford University Press.

Lorenz, K. (1971). Studies in animal and human behavior. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press.

Lumsden, C. J. (1999). Evolving creative minds: Stories and mechanisms. In R. J. Sternberg (Ed.), Handbook of Creativity (pp.153-168). New York: Cambridge University Press.

McCoy, J. M. & Evans, G. W. (2002). The potential role of the physical environment in fostering creativity. Creativity Research Journal, 14(384), 409-426.

Miller, G. A. (1956). The magic number seven, plus or minus two: Some limits on our capacity for processing information. Psychological Review, 63, 81-97.

Newman S. A. & MŸller, G. B. (1999). Morphological evolution: Epigenetic mechanisms. In Embryonic Encyclopedia of Life Sciences. London: Nature Publishing Group.

Okasha, S. (2001). Which processes are selection processes?, Commentary on Hull, D. L., Langman, R. E., & Glenn, S. S., A general account of selection: Biology, immunology, and behavior. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 24(3), 548-549.

Palm, G. (1980). On associative memory. Biological Cybernetics, 36, 19-31.

Pepper, J. W. & Knudsen, T. (2001). Selection without multiple replicators? Commentary on Hull, D. L., Langman, R. E., & Glenn, S. S., A general account of selection: Biology, immunology, and behavior. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 24(3), 550.

Perkins, D. N. (1998). In the country of the blind: An appreciation of Donald Campbell's vision of creative thought. Journal of Creative Behavior, 32(3), 177-191.

Perkins, D. N. ( 2000). Archimede' bathtub: The art and logic of breakthrough thinking . New York: W. W. Norton and Company.

Pinker, S. (1997). How the mind works . New York: Harper.

Rosch, E. (1999). Reclaiming concepts. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 6(11), 61-78.

Pitowsky, I. (1989). Quantum Probability—Quantum Logic: Lecture Notes in Physics 321 , Berlin: Springer.

Popper, K. (1963). Conjectures and refutations. New York: Routledge.

Randall, C. & Foulis, D. (1976). A mathematical setting for inductive reasoning. In C. Hooker (Ed.), Foundations of Probability Theory, Statistical Inference, and Statistical Theories of Science (vol. III, pp. 169). Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic.

Rumelhart, D. E. & McClelland, J. L. Eds. (1986). Parallel distributed processing. Cambridge MA: Bradford/MIT Press.

Schwartz, J. H. (1999). Sudden origins. New York: Wiley.

Simonton, D. K. (19984). Genius, creativity and leadership: Historiometric inquiries . Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press.<

Simonton, D. K. (1998). Donald Campbell's model of the creative process: Creativity as blind variation and selective retention. Journal of Creative Behavior, 32(3), 153-158.

Simonton, D. K. (1999a). Origins of genius: Darwinian perspectives on creativity . New York: Oxford.

Simonton, D. K. (1999b). Creativity as blind variation and selective retention: Is the creative process Darwinian? Psychological Inquiry, 10, 309-328.

Simonton, D. K. (in press). Exceptional creativity and chance: Creative thought as a stochastic combinatorial process. In L. V. Shavinina & M. Ferrari (Eds.), Beyond Knowledge: Extracognitive Facets in Developing High Ability . Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Smolensky, P. (1988). On the proper treatment of connectionism. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 11, 1-43.

Sober, E. & Wilson, D. S. (1994). A critical review of philosophical work on the units of selection problem. Philosophy of Science, 49, 157-180.

Sternberg, R. J. (1998). Cognitive mechanisms in human creativity: Is variation blind or sighted? Journal of Creative Behavior, 32(3), 159-176.

Sternberg, R. J., Kaufman, J. C. & Pretz, J. E. (2001). The propulsion model of creative contributions applied to the arts and letters. Journal of Creative Behavior, 35(2), 75-101.

Sternberg, R. J. & Lubart, T. I. (1995). Defying the crowd: Cultivating creativity in a culture of conformity . New York: Free Press.

Thagard, P. (1980). Against evolutionary epistomology. In P. D. Asquith & R. N. Giere (Eds.) PSA 1980, p. 187-96.

Wright, S. (1931). Evolution in Mendelian populations. Genetics, 16, 97-159.

Ziman, J., Ed. (2000). Technical innovation as an evolutionary process . New York: Cambridge University Press.


Repository Staff Only: item control page