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Persons who dedicate themselves in presenting or representing aesthetically appealing art forms, either visual (like: painting, sculpture, photography, etc.) or performing (like: dance, music, theatre, etc.), are termed as ‘Artists’. Artistic production is often creative in nature, when it entails a unique/ unconventional way of presentation. Investigators have always wondered about the psychological characteristics of artists, especially those that make them different from non-artists. However, art is a broad term including different sub-categories. Performing arts are the form of arts in which the persons engaged in them professionally (Artists) use their voices and/or bodies, often in relation to other objects, to convey artistic emotions and expressions. Examples are dance, drama, music, etc. It is different from Visual arts in which artists use paint, canvas, photographic techniques, etc. to create physical or static objects. In this sense, the word creativity relates with being artistic.
Moreover, it is also to be noted that ‘artist’ and ‘creative’ are not interchangeable words. Creativity may extend beyond art. An outstanding scientist, a good sports person, a writer are also creative individuals. However, in the present work, the focus has been on artists of various categories only.
Since time immemorial, the mystery of creativity and its different aspects in relation to the creative psyche has always been a never ending quest for the social researchers. The lexeme in the English word “creativity” comes from the Latin term “creo” which means ‘to create, make’. However, the word ‘create’ appears in English as early as the 14th century, notably in Chaucerian period (The Canterbury Tales: The Parson’s Tale) and its modern meaning as an act of human creation did not emerge until after the Enlightenment. The dynamism of creativity lies in its very definition which says that “Creativity is the ability to produce work that is novel (i.e., original, unexpected) and appropriate (i.e., useful, adaptive concerning task constraints)” (Lubart, 1994; Ochse, 1990; Sternberg, 1988a; Sternberg & Lubart, 1991, 1995, 1996; Sternberg, 1999, Handbook Of Creativity). However, it is noteworthy, that the values of Western culture have understood creative phenomena as the production of something novel, unique and useful; whereas, the Eastern culture viewed creativity as an inward journey or movement that evolves to emerge artistic persona (Lubart, 2004).
Creativity is, thus, a topic of wide scope which is important at both the individual and societal levels. At the individual level, creativity is relevant for finding solution to daily life problems; whereas, at societal level, creativity can lead to new scientific findings, new movements in art and in other social programmes.
It is beyond any doubt that creativity is a rare trait. This is presumably because it requires the simultaneous presence of a number of traits (e.g., intelligence, perseverance, unconventionality, etc.). None of these traits are especially rare; what is quite uncommon is to find them all present in a particular individual. In this regard various researchers have proposed different theories, both biological and psychological, to determine the concept of creativity. Among all the theories the most recent and popular theory is the Investment Theory (Sternberg & Lubart, 1991, 1995, 1996). According to Sternberg and Lubart’s Investment theory of creativity, creative people, like good investors, buy low and sell high in world of ideas. As this theory states, the six basic elements required in the realm of creation are: Intelligence, Knowledge, Thinking styles, Personality, Motivation and the Environment. However, the concept of intelligence in creativity has been derived from Sternberg’s triarchi theory of human intelligence (Sternberg, 1985a, 1988, 1996). There are three key aspects of human intelligence for having creative potential: Synthetic Ability, (the ability to generate ideas that are unique and task appropriate which involves insightful thinking and the processes of selective encoding, selective combination and selective comparison); Analytical Ability (it is the ability which is measured in part by conventional tests of intelligence; this ability is to judge the value of one’s own ideas and to decide which idea is worth pursuing) and Practical Ability (the ability to apply one’s intellectual skills in everyday contexts). According to this theory, the other five elements are also very important as well as interrelated in the field of creativity. To say, Knowledge is itself the basis of an important aspect of intelligence; in order to proceed in a particular field one needs the knowledge about that arena, and on the other hand knowledge can impede creativity by leading an individual to become entrenched. Sometimes, the experts therefore, may sacrifice mental flexibility for knowledge. Accordingly, thinking style refers to a preference for thinking in a unique way rather than following the crowd. However, to prefer this thinking style, one needs a certain personality that is capable of defying the crowd and the motivation to be persistent and determined to overcome the obstacles encountered in any creative endeavor. Furthermore, the environment most conducive to creativity is one that reduces some of these obstacles and the risks inherent in any new idea or activity.
However, as the first half of the 20th century paved way to the second half, Guilford (1950), in his APA Presidential Address, challenged psychologists to pay attention to what he found to be a neglected but extremely important and dynamic attribute, namely, creativity. Guilford reported that less than 0.2% of the entries in the Psychological Abstracts up to 1950 focused on creativity as research topic. Interest in creativity research, thus, began to grow somewhat in the 1950’s, and a few research institutes concerned with creativity were founded. However, several indicators on creativity research show that it remained a relatively marginal topic in psychology, at least until recently.
In recent times, many social researchers’ have dedicated themselves in the task of unfolding this mystery of creativity in relation to the pleasure of creation and different psychological aspects and traits (like: Introversion-Extraversion, Neuroticism, Narcissism, Ego Function, Defense Mechanisms, Attachment Style, so on and so forth) of the artistic persona. While early studies have indicated that creativity is not necessarily associated with basic personality dimensions like extraversion (McCrae, 1987; Feist, 1998) or psychoticism (McKinnon, 1978; Eysenck, 1993; Saklofske, 1998) and psychopathology (Welsh, 1975), other subtle traits are still under investigation. However, all these studies have remained contradictory and no clear and consistent difference has been proved. Yet our everyday experience constantly indicates that the creative persons are somehow different from the non-creative ones, in their thought processes, interaction and self-perception.
Hence, the present study aims in assessing the degree of narcissism, attachment style, and ego- function among the professional artists and non-artist occupational which has not been investigated so far in great detail. For the purpose of the present work, it is important to discuss the key concepts of the variables and their sub-components assessed in this study (i.e., ego functions, narcissism and attachment styles) in brief detail.