Behavioural patterns for the analysis of creative behaviour.




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De Montfort University


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Peer reviewed


Analysing human creativity has always been a difficult undertaking. The reason for this is the vagueness of the term creativity itself. Philosophers and Researchers have tried to unveil the secrets behind creativity since centuries. Besides some principles e.g. defined by Finke, Ward, and Smith, there is no holistic understanding about term creativity and there will always be discussions between researchers of different disciplines about how creativity is achieved.

Current approaches try to understand creativity through studying the creative artifact or the creative human himself. These approaches have not lead to any promising results. Instead of focussing on creativity itself, it is more promising to look at the creative process of creators. Through this, it is possible to analyse what happened during the creation of an artefact. The aim of the analysis is the identification of certain behaviours within the creative process, which lead to very creative results or in opposite hinder creativity. The gained knowledge is used for the creation of patterns, describing this specific behaviour. The analysis of the creative process is not only interesting for artists, but also for engineers, researchers, students and many others. Important target groups for this approach are schools and universities. Being able to early recognise problems in the learning curve of a student will enable a directed support, in order to improve the student's performance.

Until now, the main problem for analysing the creative process of a creator is the lack of information on how an artefact was created. Most creators tend not to make many notes during their creative phase, even if there are famous exemptions like Beethoven who left behind a huge amount of notices and marked changes in his work. Hence, the challenge is the development of a powerful framework, which can cope effectively with the recording and presentation of this creative process, in order to enable detailed analyses.

Modern computer technology fosters the recording of the creative process of a person. Much of today's creative work is achieved with computers and powerful software applications. Computer networks and the internet enable new ways of collaboration. The creation of a flexible, collaborative tool-set is the ideal approach for the mapping and analysis of the creative process.

A novel approach, based on these ideas, was developed by the members of the Creative Technologies Research Programme at the Software Technology Research Laboratory (STRL). The central aim of the approach is the mapping of the human creativity with so-called creativity maps. A creativity map is basically transition system, which allows to store and represent the creative process as well as to hold each version of the artefact. The developed De Montfort Creativity Assistant (DMCA), is a collaborative, web-enabled state-of-the-art software framework, realising the theoretical concepts.

This thesis represents a substantial contribution to the research project. The focus of the presented work lies on the analysis and the support of the creative process. Several novel techniques for the analysis of massive data sets have been developed. The presented techniques enable a domain-independent analysis and support of the creative process. This is huge improvement over previous concepts, which are highly specialised and focus on the creative artefact itself. The presented approach required the development of several novel techniques. The major contributions of the presented research are:

  • Behavioural Patterns Enable the description of constructs inside the creativity map. These constructs represent the creative behaviour of the creator.

  • Techniques for a Computer-supported Information Extraction A pattern description language enables the computer-supported information extraction from creativity maps.

  • Knowledge Repository Knowledge, gained through the analysis processes, is stored centrally and shared with other creators in order to stimulate further growing of knowledge.

  • Concepts for the Analysis and Support of the Creative Process Novel concepts allow the structured analysis and support of the creative process, regardless of the creator's domain.

All developed techniques have been implemented in several tools, which aim to enrich the DMCA with the ability of a computer-supported analysis and support of the creative process.



creativity, creative process, creative technologies, mapping human creativity



Research Institute