A Sociocultural Theory of Creativity: Bridging the Social, the Material, and the Psychological

Vlad Petre Glaveanu

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivista

2 Citazioni (Scopus)


The present article gives an overview of sociocultural approaches to creativity and advances a particular theory of the creative process grounded in the notions of difference, position, perspective, dialogue, and affordance. If sociocultural psychology challenges old dichotomies between mind and body, individual and society, then creativity is ideally placed to demonstrate their interdependence. While sociocultural thinking in creativity research has traditionally emphasized the social or collaborative nature of creative processes, recovering old scholarship and reviewing it in light of current empirical developments shows how socio-materiality can properly inform psychological theory in this area. The article starts with an outline of sociocultural principles before considering their application to creativity. It then formulates four propositions regarding the creative process: (a) differences of perspective increase creative potential; (b) exchanging positions and perspectives, within and between individuals, fosters creative processes; (c) these exchanges result in perspectives that reveal previously unperceived affordances; and (d) oftentimes, it is the affordances of material objects or of unique idea combinations that guide the development of novel perspectives in creative work. Evidence supporting these key hypotheses of the perspective-affordance theory of creativity (PAT) comes from research conducted in a variety of areas within psychology and in related fields. In the end, the methodological and practical implications of considering creativity as a process of recognizing differences, exchanging positions, developing perspectives and discovering affordances will be discussed, as well as the broader implications of building theories that bring together, rather than keep separate, the social, the material, and the psychological.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)335-354
Numero di pagine20
RivistaReview of General Psychology
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2020
Pubblicato esternamente


  • affordance
  • difference
  • material
  • perspective
  • position
  • social
  • sociocultural psychology


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