Johan Hoorn, born in Haarlem, the Netherlands, in 1965. Ph.D. from VU University Amsterdam. Senior Associate Professor of Communicative Multimedia at VU University Amsterdam.
Lorentz Fellow (1 September 2010 – 30 June 2011)
DEVELOPING A UNIFIED THEORY OF CREATIVITY: MEANING, MECHANISMS, MODELS
In my studies on creativity at NIAS, I could identify three theoretical approaches: continuity, disruption, and serendipity, which can be found throughout the literature, from cultural history to neuroscience, and from management studies to mathematics. More importantly, I was capable to integrate these three approaches into one model that describes how creative development takes place: the Creative Sigmoid. In addition, I studied the psychological literature to formulate a process model of creativity, something that only tentatively was tried before: the ACASIA model. Next, I connected ACASIA to the Creative Sigmoid so that we now have a motor (ACASIA) that propels creative advance (the Sigmoid) in a scale independent way, whether on the level of individual psychology, the level of an industrial innovation line, or the rise and fall of an entire innovation culture. Currently, the mathematics to this theoretical breakthrough is developed, from which simulation models can be built and the internal logic of the theoretical system can be verified. Simulation experiments with a simplified version of ACASIA seem to produce the Creative Sigmoid as expected. We are now in the process of elaborating this model. Already, the simulations give rise to plenty of questions that should be validated empirically, in particular, with regard to parameter settings. In addition, I made the connection between creativity and the perception of fiction because each creation envisions a future state that is not realized yet; in other words, perceiving fictional worlds should be closely related to producing them.