David Bridges and his co-author Haline Schendan just published the article “Sensitive individuals are more creative.” in Personality and Individual Differences. In their review paper, they propose that a major gap in individual differences research has been a lack of research on the relationship between creativity and temperament, which captures the biologically-based core of personality, especially studies on sensitive temperament. This was the focus of David's PhD thesis. The review explains that sensitivity has been associated with creativity anecdotally and in early work but rarely investigated recently, particularly using recent more precise definitions of sensitivity and state-of-the-art sensitivity and creativity assessments, nor has the relationship between creativity and cognitive processes that should reflect sensitive neural processing been investigated. The review also aims to identify cognitive abilities that characterise sensitivity and their implications for creativity, concluding that orienting sensitivity is the most important trait in the multiple trait temperament of sensitivity that predicts higher creativity. The authors present a new model explaining that sensitive, open people are more creative due to a complex interplay of multiple traits and their associated biological pathways, which originate from plasticity genes that interact with environmental and experiential contexts to influence development of neurotransmitter systems, neurosensitivity mechanisms (especially lower inhibition), and brain networks for automatic attention and orienting.
The review was an outcome of Project 15 “Predicting creativity from spatial ability & personality”, and David's literature review for this PhD thesis “Neurosensitivity: Implications for cognition and creativity.”