Summary and Discussion

We began the chapter by asking how creativity could possibly increase with age in the face of declines in speed, short-term memory, and fluid reasoning. We reviewed the role of three sets of factors at play in creativity. We found that while cognitive ability generally declines with age, knowledge, expertise, and other resources may generally increase with age.

In particular we found that the following elements likely decline with age:

  • • Speed
  • • Short-term memory
  • • Fluid reasoning
  • • Originality
  • • Mind-wandering
  • • Energy and stamina
  • • Openness to experience whereas the following likely increase or remain stable with age:
  • • Domain-specific knowledge and expertise
  • • General knowledge
  • • Pattern recognition, intuition, and heuristics
  • • Diversity of experience
  • • Interest and motivation
  • • Grit and self-efficacy
  • • Effective collaboration

For some elements, including sense of the audience, perspective taking, and integrative complexity, the current state of empirical evidence is still murky.

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