According to Arne Dietrich, the four different types of creativity are:
1. Deliberate and cognitive creativity.
Individuals who exhibit deliberate and cognitive creativity are research-oriented and favor repeated experiments and investigations to achieve their creative goals. A part of the brain called the prefrontal cortex (PFC) allows for extended periods of focus and information-gathering that typifies this kind of creativity. Thomas Edison’s work on the light bulb, which required numerous trials, is a perfect example of deliberate and cognitive creativity
2. Deliberate and emotional creativity.
The amygdala and cingulate cortex regulate deliberate and emotional creativity, which combines a reliance on logic and facts with emotional sensitivity. Individuals who fall under this category favor quiet time, which helps generate random “a-ha” moments of clarity and creative inspiration.
3. Spontaneous and cognitive creativity.
A “eureka” moment, like the one that reportedly inspired Isaac Newton’s theories on gravity, defines spontaneous and cognitive creativity. Creative people in this category often need to shift their focus from the problem at hand and focus on different activities. At these moments, the basal ganglia of the brain activate unconscious awareness, allowing the PFC to draw on their body of knowledge and connect information. Solutions arise when an idea or external inspiration triggers the brain.
4. Spontaneous and emotional creativity.
Great artists—like painters, authors, and musicians—often meet the criteria for spontaneous and emotional creativity. The amygdala—which oversees emotional thinking—generates epiphanies, or sudden moments of inspiration, which allow them to see a situation from a completely new perspective. Epiphanies aren’t forced or manufactured but simply require patience.