The Most Powerful Visualization Tool – Part 2: Processing

We speak now about the processing of the informations in our brain, which produces the idea. This process is known as Creativity. But what is it, really?

For psychologists, the creative behavior is made possible by the creative skills. The development of this faculty would depend, therefore, the strengthening of the latter. The American psychologist J. P. Guilford, famous for the concept of Divergent Thinking, identified one hundred and fifty different intellectual abilities, classified according to the categories of: Operations, Content and Products [1].

Wright sketching

Frank Lloyd Wright: Broadacre City Plan sketch, 1934-35 - ©The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, Scottsdale, AZ

Operations would be the six general intellectual activities performed on the informations:

  1.  Cognition: the ability to discover, become aware and understand the information.
  2. Memory Recording: the ability to encode information.
  3. Memory Retention: the ability to recall information.
  4. Divergent Production: the ability to generate multiple solutions to a problem.
  5. Convergent Production: the ability to deduct a single solution to a problem, completely determined by the information received.
  6. Evaluation: the ability to judge whether the information is accurate, consistent and valid.

The Divergent Thinking, extremely important within the Creativity, would be the intellectual process activated in situations that allow more than one direction of development, going beyond what is already contained in the initial situation and the codified rules, to produce something new. According to Guilford, the different types of creativity would be twenty-four.

Le Corbusier Sketching

Le Corbusier: Proposition pour l'urbanisation de la banlieue nord de Rome, 1936 - ©Fondation Le Corbusier, ©

How to realize this, those engaged in a creative profession? A technique frequently used, is the association of ideas.
For Sarnoff A. Mednick, this process can occur randomly, for similarity of the elements or mediation – that‘s, when two distinct elements are associated, thanks to a third party who is the trait d’union –. [2]

It ‘s obvious that more information a person possesses, better chances it will have of creating associations. So as those who are more able to identify links between the elements, even an indirect one. For example, someone who thinks in pictures may notice common elements among two elements, neglected by those who think in words.

Well, even in this case, my mind is that the visualization of thought by traditional tools such as pen and paper, is more profitable than hardwares and softwares. Be careful, I don’t say “more productive”, because it’s obvious that the speed of processors and video-cards can produce an astonishing amount of variation, but, I repeat, they’re not creations.

Siza Sketching

Alvaro Siza Vieira: sketch for social dwellings in Doedijnstraat, Den Haag, NL, 1989 - ©Alvaro Siza

As in the previous post I argued that the act of Cognition is more effective for those records information manually, even the association of ideas seems to me of more quality for these people. The paper is a more “sensual” material to the touch and allows to establish a more “intimate” relation that, in my mind, promote the flow of ideas, including through the doodling, drawing the maps, charts and all that human culture defines signs. It’s not a coincidence that many creatives, expressing their ideas on paper, fill the blank spaces with doodles and notes, emerged from their private brainstorming.

According to a British study from the University of Nottingham, the doodles would be an excellent tool for Science Education, because the scientists work more with symbols, diagrams, pictures. The students who doodle the concepts explained in class, would learn more.[3]

Piano Sketching

Renzo Piano: concept sketches for Jean Marie Tjibaou Cultural Centre, New Caledonia, 1998, - © RPBW, ©Electa

Well, do you know? The inspiration for this series of posts – Which are certainly not intended to be exhaustive – comes from my experience as a teacher at Graphic and Design schools. I always had the impression (shared by some of my colleagues), that students who work exclusively with the computer, showing less creativity than those who work with the pencil. Maybe it’s just a greater empathy with the latter, or that some of the former are inclined to think they can delegate to hardwares the task of finding ideas.

Because the present and future generations, will be composed of digital natives, the argument seems to me worthy of being investigated.

 [1] Wikipedia: J.P. Guilford
[2] Daniele Brambilla, 
[3] Elogio degli scarabocchi

Other post  in this series:
The Most powerful Visualization tool – Part 1: Recording
The Most powerful Visualization tool – Part 3: Rendering


About liviusnotes

Architect, Graphic Illustrator, Drawing Teacher, Gentleman.
This entry was posted in Creativity, Sketches and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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