Plans for Future Scholarship

Many researchers have investigated the potential relationship between creativity and mental illness. Although it is still not clear whether creativity is related to mental illness (Silvia & Kaufman, 2009), we have examples such as Vincent van Gogh and Virginia Woolf, whose creative outlets- we presume- saved them from engaging in more destructive behaviors and earlier deaths. In my own life, Korea's male dominated, Confucian society repressed my creativity and scholarship, due only to the fact that I was a woman. Since I escaped that system and began my scholarship in the United States, mentors, students, and this complicated American culture have welcomed and encouraged my creativity. As a consequence, one goal of my future research is to develop a method to reliably identify individuals' (including childrens, students, and adults) particular creative strengths, thus to identify creative outlets for these strengths, and to identify and take into account the environments that tend to encourage their creativity.

In April 2010, Po Bronson, an author and a journalist, and Ashley Merryman, his co-author, began interviewing me for a story on "the new science of creativity." They had read many of my papers, and they wanted to interview me to report about the worldwide well-known creativity test, the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking. Among other books, they are the authors of NurtureShock - New Thinking About Children, which was a New York Times bestseller, and their reporting on the science of child development has won awards from AAAS and the Council on Contemporary Families. While they were interviewing me, in May, I finished a research study titled The Creativity Crisis, which was specially featured in Bronson's article, published as the cover story of Newsweek magazine on July 12, 2010. Since the article came out, TV shows, radio programs, newspapers, and many magazines requested interviews with me. I suddenly realized my research could influence so many people in the world. Before the article, I was working more on theoretical work including the relationship between intelligence and creativity, cultural influence on creativity, and related subjects.

Since completing The Creativity Crisis research and the Newsweek's publication, I have explored some of the applications and consequences of the results I had detected in that study. I had discovered creativity has been decreasing in America. I have researched and discovered a correlation between drop-out rates and this creativity crisis. I have since applied for research grants with the National Center for the Prevention of Commnity Violence to explore the relationship between the creativity crisis and the growth of suburban and hybrid gangs in the U.S. I forsee several grants to establish gang prevention and intervention programs focused on creativity, including mentoring programs and artistic expressive type programs.

I am constantly- and am currently- working on several publications concerning various topics related to creativity, and others have already been submitted for publication. Applications of my research are also important to adult mental health, and I will continue to ask compelling questions and search for answers. I continue my interest in better understanding creativity, so that teaching methods can better encourage and accommodate creativity, and so our performance can be more reliably monitored and measured to assure we are educating in ways best suited to achieve clearly defined goals.