Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Somatic Dimensions of Artistic Creativity: How Somatically Literate Artists Experience the Soma's Role in Creativity
by Krichman, Yakir, Ph.D., The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, 2014, 191; 3645215
Abstract (Summary)

This qualitative research was designed in order to explore the soma's role in artistic creativity in a non-therapeutic framework by using a language that is coherent with both somatic psychology worldview and current creativity research trends, especially grounded cognition. Ten Israeli artists (two painters, two sculptors, two composers, two writers, and two poets), older than 25, whose work had been published, exhibited, or performed at least once through a recognized artistic institution and who were able to connect inwardly with their somatic sensations and to report on them in detail, were purposefully selected for this study. Participants were interviewed twice and filled a documentation journal during a two week period between the interviews in order to understand how their somas are involved in their creative processes. Data was analyzed according to formal Interpretative Phenomenology Analysis (IPA) procedures. Findings included several structured insights that contribute to the understanding of somatic psychology, mainly by adding the notion that somatic sensations and symptoms can be related to creative processes, especially unidentified and unfollowed processes; to creativity research, by opposing reductive trends that focus on cognitive measures and by adding depth to current discourse around the concepts of flow and creativity; and to grounded cognition researchers, by providing tangible specificity to primary, pre-representational, cognitive processes related to creativity that involve the soma, somatic awareness, and the environment. One implication of the findings is that developing somatic awareness and sensitivity can foster and guide bottom-up creative processes, since the soma was found capable of reflecting implicit and nuanced creative movements that are still unconscious, unformulated, and unreasoned; movements that can become more formed through specific open attention. Another implication is that somatic psychology researchers and practitioners should not automatically attribute somatic sensations (including physical symptoms) to unprocessed trauma, or unresolved developmental or personality issues, but also to different creative stages and to unidentified, or unfollowed creative processes. It was recommended that future studies explore the phenomenon of soma-to-soma communication, test the impact of somatic awareness training on artistic products and productivity, and that this study be replicated, exploring other artistic fields and creative domains.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Ahlstrom, Henry
Commitee: Johnson, Rae, Sukal, Marlon
School: The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
Department: Somatic Psychology
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: DAI-B 76/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Fine arts, Social psychology, Experimental psychology, Cognitive psychology, Aesthetics
Keywords: Creativity development, Creativity research, Flow, Grounded cognition, Positive psychology, Somatic psychology
Publication Number: 3645215
ISBN: 9781321339369
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