Heritability of Creative Achievement

  • Piffer D
  • Hur Y
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Abstract

Although creative achievement is a subject of much attention to lay people, the origin of individual differences in creative accomplishments remain poorly understood. This study examined genetic and environmental influences on creative achievement in an adult sample of 338 twins (mean age = 26.3 years; SD = 6.6 years). Twins completed the Creative Achievement Questionnaire (CAQ) that assesses observable creative accomplishments in various domains. The CAQ includes Artistic Creative Achievement (ACA), Scientific Creative Achievement (SCA), and the Total Creative Achievement (TCA) scales. Across all 3 scales, monozygotic twin correlations were consistently and substantially higher than dizygotic twin correlations, suggesting the importance of genetic influences on creative achievements. Heritability estimates for the 3 scales ranged from 43% to 67%, with the remaining variance being attributable to nonshared environmental influences plus measurement error. The effects of shared environmental factors were negligible. These results were in contrast with those of early twin studies of creativity, which yielded a significant amount of shared family environmental influences. Discrepancies in findings between this study and prior investigations may be due in part to the differences in ages of twins and measures.

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Authors

  • Davide Piffer

  • Yoon Mi Hur

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