Research says arts and STEM depend on same type of creative thinking

Are you a math person or a writing person? Right-brained or left? New research indicates that the two might be more interconnected than we might have thought. Although we often think of arts and science as opposites, it turns out the same type of creative thinking is critical for both. 

A new study from the University of South Australia surveyed 2,277 undergraduate and graduate students in either STEM or art classes and evaluated their creative self-efficacy, divergent thinking, and opinions on given solutions to problems. In the three-part study, researchers found that across the board, in STEM and arts, students fundamentally relied on being open to new ideas, employing divergent thinking, and maintaining a sense of flexibility to achieve success. 

The similarities in thinking style across disciplines hold implications for education strategies and styles. Teachers in STEM fields could benefit from promoting increased creativity in their classrooms and art students may be surprised to find they are rather adept at finding new solutions in the field of science and math. 

These results also influence the development of artificial intelligence. Understanding the role that creativity plays in human thinking could help design more effective AI systems. We are excited to see where this research leads to and whether you favor arts or STEM, remember they may be more similar than you thought.

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