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Origins of creativity and creative ecosystems

Associate teachers


ECTS credits


Number of hours: Lectures + Seminars + Exercises

30 / 15 / 0

Course objectives

The aim of the course is to familiarize students with the origins of creativity, challenges in investigating creativity, and ways of creating ecosystems that enable and support individual and collaborative creative endeavors. They will be introduced with fundamental processes related to creativity in individuals, such as divergent vs. convergent thinking and conceptual integration, as well as elements related to situated creativity that assumes interdisciplinary collaboration and practical application of novel ideas. The students will be expected to work on projects and investigate aspects of both individual and situated creativity as well as learn how to recognize and enhance individual capacity to think and act creatively.

Enrolment requirements and/or entry competences required for the course


Learning outcomes at the level of the programme to which the course contributes

  • Apply specific knowledge and skills from selected disciplines constituting cognitive science.
  • Critically evaluate cognitive science findings and synthesize information to be employed in a collaborative professional environment.
  • Employ cognitive science insights in developing innovative, human-friendly and sustainable technological solutions.
  • Apply interdisciplinary approach in examining phenomena pertaining to cognition.
  • Plan and track personal professional growth.
  • Initiate and sustain innovation activities in an interdisciplinary team.

Course content (syllabus)

  1. Introduction: the aim and the structure of the course. What is creativity? How do I know if I am creative?
  2. What do we know about the origins of creativity and its beginnings? What do cognitive scientists say about creativity?
  3. The nature of conceptual integration: what is conceptual integration, who investigates it and how.
  4. The relationship between perceptual, structural and functional similarities.
  5. Students' projects, stage 1: discussion
  6. Conceptual integration and interdisciplinarity.
  7. Conceptual divergence and conceptual integration in creative growth of individuals and teams.
  8. The process of re-conceptualization.
  9. Students' projects, stage 2: topics and teams.
  10. Human mind as a starting point of creative ecosystems.
  11. Types and characteristics of creative ecosystems.
  12. Students' projects: teams' reports on the selected topics/problems.
  13. Is my team creative?
  14. Teams' project reports.
  15. Teams' project reports.

Student responsibilities

Class attendance. Project work. Project submission.

Required literature

  1. Fauconnier, G. & Turner, M. (2002). The Way We Think: Conceptual Blending and the Mind’s Hidden Complexities. NY: Basic Books.
  2. Johnson, S. (2012). Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation. New York: Riverhead Books.
  3. Turner, M. (2014). The Origin of Ideas: Blending, Creativity, and the Human Spark. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  4. Sternberg, R. J. (2002). Creativity as a decision. American psychologist, 57, 376.
  5. Sternberg, R. J., Grigorenko, E. L., & Singer, J. L. (Eds.). (2004). Creativity: From potential to realization. American Psychological Association.
  6. Thagard, P. & Stewart, Terrence C. (2011). The AHA! Experience: Creativity Through Emergent Binding in Neural Networks. Cognitive Science 35, 1, 1-33.

Optional literature

  1. Mithen, S., (1996). The Prehistory of the Mind: A Search for the Origins of Art, Religion and Science. London: Thames & Hudson.
  2. Koestler, (1964). The Act of Creation. NY: Macmillan.
  3. Barab, S. A. & Plucker, J. (2002). Smart people or smart contexts? Talent development in an age of situated approaches to learning and thinking. Educational psychologist 37, 165-182.
  4. Kaufman, J. C. & Baer, J. (2002). Could Stephen Spielberg manage the Yankees? Creative thinking in different domains. Korean Journal of Thinking and Problem Soving, (12)2, 5-14.