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Psychologist
Reference:

Creativity as a Way to Overcome Uncertainty

Pirlik Galina Petrovna

ORCID: 0000-0002-7884-3572

PhD in Medicine

Associate Professor, Department of Psychological Anthropology, Institute of Childhood, Federal State Budgetary Educational Institution of Higher Education Moscow Pedagogical State University

119571, Russia, Moscow, Prospekt Vernadskogo str., 88, office 703

galina@pirlik.ru
Bogoyavlenskaya Diana Borisovna

ORCID: 0000-0002-6766-2047

Doctor of Psychology

Head of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research, Psychological Institute of the Russian Academy of Education

125009, Russia, Moscow, Mokhovaya str., 9, room 4

mpo-120@mail.ru

DOI:

10.25136/2409-8701.2022.4.38724

EDN:

SBIRGQ

Review date:

06-09-2022


Publish date:

16-09-2022


Abstract: Creativity is seen as a way to overcome uncertainty - an integral feature of the modern world on the way to its knowledge. The attitude towards uncertainty is one of the personality traits, the versatility of the phenomenology of which determines the interdisciplinary status of the problem. Overcoming uncertainty by cognition, the creation of a new one, the courage of creativity become milestones of modernity and need scientific justification and reflection. The results of a study of the peculiarities of the attitude towards uncertainty of people capable of creativity, and people with different levels of intelligence, whose activities are externally stimulated, where cognitive motivation is not leading, are presented. Statistically significant differences were revealed between groups of people with different levels of performance according to the "Creative Field" method in terms of uncertainty tolerance tests. People who have shown the ability to be creative are significantly more tolerant of uncertainty, prefer the new to the familiar, as well as complex tasks compared to people of the stimulus-productive level. They are not limited to the perceived reality, they do not stop at uncertainty and the unknown, but, driven by a cognitive need, they are aimed at an in-depth understanding of the situation, due to which they advance in the knowledge and awareness of reality. People who can only solve the set tasks are helpless in the face of a situation of uncertainty. Achievement motivation limits the development of the thinking process even in the presence of high mental abilities, as well as a low level of intelligence development, i.e. lack of educational resources. This affects the negative perception of the situation of uncertainty and the inability to cope with it. The development of activity on one's own initiative as a unit of creativity is thus the way that allows one to overcome situations of uncertainty. Such people, despite the uncertainty, are able to continue their activities, to delve into the situation. Cognitive motivation helps to follow the path of cognition in new, complex, contradictory and unpredictable situations. The study of creativity as a way to overcome uncertainty reveals the mechanism of pre-adaptation.


Keywords:

creativity, giftedness, uncertainty, Creative Field method, tolerance for uncertainty, thinking, unit of analysis of creativity, development of activity on one's own initiative, cognition, preadaptation

This article is automatically translated. You can find original text of the article here.

Uncertainty is a multi-valued term discussed and researched in various sciences and in an interdisciplinary context. "Uncertainty is the main, integral characteristic of life in our world. There is a lot of uncertainty in it, and it is absolute, and the segments of certainty are relative. <...> uncertainty is a property of life" [12]. In the natural sciences, uncertainty is considered as an objective characteristic of the world in its scope from the micro to the macro level. "Uncertainty exists objectively as one of the characteristics of this stage of the evolution of society itself, and not just as a flaw in our consciousness" [10, p. 10]. In the humanities, including psychology, subjective uncertainty is associated with the state and experience of a person and is considered more often in the epistemological aspect in terms of the relations of the cognizing subject and objects of the external world.

Uncertainty "is equal to incompleteness and unreliability of knowledge of the conditions of their actions" [10, p. 11]. From a philosophical point of view, subjective uncertainty is "the state of mind of the decisionmaking subject or the level of his knowledge about a particular situation. Uncertainty is not an attribute of the situation, but of the subject's knowledge of it" [9, pp. 80-81]. Uncertainty as a variety of forms of tension is a discovery of paramount importance, a characteristic of the dynamism of the psyche in the modern world, which poses many new scientific problems [1].

The situation is perceived as uncertainty when the subjective sense of stability disappears, contradictions are revealed and the existing picture of the world changes, the usual course of events is disrupted, confidence in the future is lost. Habitual and standard methods of action and behaviors turn out to be useless, do not lead to the desired result. Situations of uncertainty impose special requirements on the qualities of a person, his psyche, the ability to cope with uncertainty, to fully live and carry out his activities. A person is forced to wait for external guiding influences that encourage certain actions, or to search, think and move on independently. This means being ready for changes, using "methods of self-regulation at the highest levels of one's being: theoretical thinking, creativity in general, conscience, freedom, etc." [8, p. 85].

The role of creativity as the highest form of human activity in overcoming uncertainty is a fundamental scientific problem. Specifically, the human ability to know is closely related to the attitude to uncertainty, which is considered as one of the features of personality, the versatility of whose phenomenology within the framework of the historical and evolutionary methodology of cognition determines the interdisciplinary status of the problem and reflects the diversity of human manifestations in the evolution of nature, the history of society and the building of one's own life path [3]. Scientists raise the question of dividing humanity into those who accept the challenge of the uncertainty of the world, and those who follow the ancient and formidable challenge of survival [13]. Civility is perceived as mastering the uncertainty of modernity, and archaic as a tendency to adapt, balance and avoid uncertainty, to simplify reality. The development of humanity goes from adaptive, stereotypical scenarios of life to preadaptation, readiness not only for what does not exist, but also for what has never been. Ontological uncertainty has predetermined the emergence of radical evolutionary transformations in the form of preadaptation phenomena. The complexity, uncertainty and diversity of the modern world place demands on the development of preadaptive phenomena [4]. The most important of the preadaptive phenomena, in our opinion, is creativity. The phenomena of adaptation act as adaptations based on past experience, and the phenomena of preadaptation are aimed at an unpredictable future that goes beyond the established patterns and provides readiness for it. "Complementing each other, they create the degree of "multicolour" that guarantees the fusion of the sustainability of what has already been achieved and the potential for development focused on an uncertain future" [2, p. 4].

When the tension of contradictions in a situation of uncertainty reaches the moment of the highest tension, the system goes out of equilibrium. People's behavior ceases to be automatically predictable, deterministic. The unpredictability of further movement appears as a continuum of possibilities. The gradation of "the degree of intensity of unpredictability: the intervention of chance the intervention of a thinking being the intervention of creative consciousness" is highlighted [14, p. 325]. At one pole of development there is a rigid unambiguous determination, at the other creative activity.

The highest forms of behavior are contained in a person's ability to think, cognition, and creativity. The moment of absence of external stimulation is important for distinguishing preadaptive phenomena. When overcoming uncertainty comes with the help of thinking, which was stimulated by a collision with the incomprehensible, when the solution of the problem occurs with the help of available methods and skills, there is no creativity. The previous process of cognition allows us to understand uncertainty, when a person himself generates the result of a mental analysis, and, driven by an interest in cognition, goes further. The most important thing is selfmovement in this process. Uncertainty brings a lot of opportunities for the development and manifestation of personal initiative, active search for solutions, taking responsibility. Uncertainty "is a reserve of increasing information" [14, p. 109].A person has oriented himself to the extent and has known the world in which he allows himself the luxury of detecting a situation of uncertainty. Subjective uncertainty is caused by research behavior, which is aimed at reducing it [17]. The motivational focus of research activities on the free search and receipt of information contributes to the liberation from stereotypes and the realization of new opportunities.

The essential characteristic of a person is the ability to create, which allows you to go beyond the externally specified activity and in a situation of uncertainty contributes to the knowledge of reality. "Intellectual activity to transform this situation makes it possible to problematize the situation of uncertainty with the possibility of its subsequent solution and determination of appropriate behavior. Problematization of an uncertain situation and the solution of a problem is the result of thinking, the essence of which is a special form of cognition" [18, p. 375]. Based on the activity-based understanding of thinking, the role of the processes of overcoming subjective uncertainty as a component of the subjective mediation of thinking structures was investigated. "The process of solving a mental problem consists in reducing the initial uncertainty of conditions (removing this uncertainty), in actively choosing information that comes as a result of the subject's own actions" [19, p. 94]. Thinking is a way to deal with uncertainty. The constructiveness of this method is determined by its results the emergence of new knowledge about the situation, new ways of interacting with the world.

In the theory of creativity that we are developing, which is a continuation of the tradition of Russian psychology, giftedness as the ability to create is the development of activity on one's own initiative. This unit of creativity analysis reveals its mechanism [6]. The output of the thinking process beyond the solution of a given task is a continuation of cognition when the requirements have already been met. Creativity is not a special kind of activity, but the highest level of development of any activity. Creativity as a systemic quality is the result of the integration of intellectual abilities and cognitive motivation [5]. Mastering the activity presupposes the presence of an appropriate level of intelligence. Situationally unstimulated productive activity (self-activity) is possible only with the dominance of cognitive motivation underlying passion, commitment, dedication.

The peak of a person's actions in the world is creativity, when he himself generates something that did not exist. Overcoming uncertainty with knowledge, creation of new things, courage of creativity become milestones of modernity and need scientific justification and comprehension. This scientific study is based on the hypothesis that creativity is considered as a way to overcome uncertainty. Identification of personality traits that make a person capable of facing uncertainty is an urgent problem. The purpose of this study was to study the peculiarities of the attitude to uncertainty in people with different levels of performance, development of intelligence and types of motivation.

Research methods1. The method "Creative field" (D. B. Bogoyavlenskaya, 1971) allows for the first time to distinguish creativity by its mechanism as a separate phenomenon, to diagnose the unit of creativity the ability to develop activities on its own initiative [7].

The typology of cognition includes three levels of performance: incentive-productive, heuristic and creative. We have additionally identified sublevels of the stimulus level depending on the level of intelligence.

2. Diagnostic tests of tolerance to uncertainty.

Tolerance to uncertainty is understood as a person's ability to accept conflict and tension arising in a situation of duality, to resist the incoherence and inconsistency of information, to accept the unknown, not to feel uncomfortable in front of uncertainty [21], as a range from rejection to attractiveness of reactions to stimuli perceived as unfamiliar, complex or subject to several contradictory interpretations [22]. There are three main characteristics of uncertain situations: inconsistency, when existing information is incompatible and negates one another, novelty the absence of familiar information and complexity the need to take into account a large amount of information [20]. Thus, tolerance to uncertainty is a complex integral characteristic of a person, defined as a tendency to react in a certain way to situations subjectively perceived as uncertain, i.e., which cannot be adequately structured or categorized due to lack of information.

2.1. Test "Scale of tolerance to uncertainty" (Russian version of the questionnaire by D. McLain MSTAT-I, E. G. Lukovitskaya, 1998) [15].

2.2. Test "Scale of general tolerance to uncertainty (E. N. Osin, 2010) is designed to evaluate psychometric indicators and the factor structure of the test of E. G. Lukovitskaya [16].

2.3. A new questionnaire of tolerance-intolerance to the uncertainty of NTN (T. V. Kornilova, 2010) [11].

3. Methods of mathematical statistics.

Statistical data processing was carried out in the IBM SPSS Statistics Version 26 program. To identify differences between groups, nonparametric analysis of variance according to the Kraskel-Wallace criterion was used, which is advisable for small-volume samples.

The study involved 70 people aged 18 to 80 years. The median age was 33 years. Among the study participants, 16 men (23%) and 54 women (77%) participated. The sample includes 37 participants with higher education (53%), 31 people with incomplete higher education (44%) and 2 people with secondary vocational education (3%). Among the study participants with higher education were teachers of higher education 15 people (41%), military personnel 8 people (22%), entrepreneurs 5 people (13%), researchers 3 people (8%), trade representatives 2 people (5%), managers of public administration 1 person (3%), programmers 1 person (3%), pensioners 2 people (5%). The group of study participants with incomplete higher education consisted of 1-2-year students of the defectology Faculty of the Moscow Pedagogical State University.

Results1. According to the "Creative Field" method, the following distribution was obtained by levels of performance of activities (ATC):

1) incentive-productive level with low intelligence (SPN) 27% (19 people);

2) incentive-productive level with high intelligence (SPV) 50% (35 people);

3) heuristic level (E) 17% (12 people).

Did not study or did not solve the problem 6% (4 people). In further analysis, data on these participants were not considered.

I. Incentive-productive level: performance of an activity when a person performs a given activity (i.e., it is productive), but his activity is limited by the requirement to solve the task presented. Having mastered the activity, a person does not develop it further. The sublevels we identified differed in the level of intelligence, which was determined by the success of solving problems (the presence of difficulties, the time of solving the problem, the number of samples, the need for help).

1.1. The incentive level with a low level of intelligence is characterized by an unformed process of systemic analytical activity. This is accompanied by difficulties in solving the problem, the inability to fully master and implement the activity being mastered, to realize the solution method, which stimulates the search for a workaround.

1.2. The incentive level with high intelligence is characterized by ease in mastering the activity, a complete analysis of the conditions of the task, a quick and independent finding of a solution. According to earlier studies, as a rule, there is a focus on rapid achievement, which indicates the dominance of the achievement motive (Bogoyavlenskaya, 2009). The motivation of achievement manifests itself as a strong anxiety about the possibility of failure, the desire to cope better and faster than others, to get a good assessment of their activities. At this sublevel, people successfully master the activity, but they no longer develop it.

II. The heuristic level is diagnosed when a full-fledged analysis of the situation allows the subject to master the solution method, but he does not stop there, but continues the analysis of activity due to the determination of cognitive motivation, which leads to the discovery of new patterns. At this level, the activity takes on a creative character.

III. Creative level: the patterns found at the heuristic level are not used only as a way of solving, but an independent formulation of a newly discovered problem occurs when the patterns found are justified. The phenomenon of goal-setting is manifested. Not found in our sample.

2. At the first stage of mathematical analysis, descriptive statistics were calculated for the studied indicators according to tests of tolerance to uncertainty depending on the ATC using the "Creative Field" method.

2.1. Tolerance to uncertainty (TNL) according to the test "Scale of tolerance to uncertainty" (E. G. Lukovitskaya, 1998) is considered as a socio-psychological attitude reflecting a person's tendency to strict regulation of life and full awareness of what is happening, or to openness and uncertainty. Descriptive statistics are presented in Table 1.

Table 1. Descriptive statistics of the TNL indicator

Indicator ATC

Mines.Max.

Average

Stand.

off.TNL

SPN

-15

38

12,58

17,54

SPV

-15

34

9,32

14,03

E

5

42

33,0

12,49

2.2. The test "Scale of general tolerance to uncertainty" (E. N. Osin, 2010) allows you to measure the overall score of tolerance to uncertainty and five psychometric indicators: attitude to novelty (OH), attitude to complex tasks (NEOS), attitude to uncertain situations (ONS), preference for uncertainty (PN) and tolerance/avoidance of uncertainty (TIN). These subscales are used for more detailed diagnostics of individual characteristics of tolerance to uncertainty and for differentiated study of its individual aspects. Descriptive statistics are presented in Table 2.

Table 2. Descriptive statistics of the test indicators "Scale of general tolerance to uncertainty (Osin, 2010)

Indicator ATC

Mines.

Max.

Average

Stand.

off.he

SPN

6

17

11,75

3,46

SPV

10

19

13,21

2,39

E

12

18

15,75

1,98

NEOS

SPN

29

42

34,08

4,03

SPV

22

44

33,58

6,42

E

37

48

42,13

4,39

ONS

SPN

21

57

39,92

9,06

SPV

22

55

36,21

8,07

E

29

54

45,25

8,79

MON

SPN

32

72

46,33

11,21

SPV

28

62

49,95

9,11

E

45

72

61,00

10,04

TIN

SPN

31

67

50,08

11,35

SPV

31

64

45,63

7,92

E

45

65

56,25

6,41

about

SPN

73

136

99,75

17,44

SPV

73

122

95,58

13,35

E

97

130

119,75

11,33

2.3. The following indicators were measured using NTN. Tolerance to uncertainty (TN) is defined as "acceptance of uncertainty, which manifests itself at the levels of other personal properties, primarily related to the personal regulation of decisions and actions in conditions of uncertainty readiness for risk and preference for intuitive style in the regulation of choice" (T. V. Kornilova, 2010, p. 78). Tolerance (ITN) is a property reflecting the desire for clarity in relation to the world. Interpersonal tolerance (MITN) is a property reflecting the rejection of uncertainty in the world of people. Descriptive statistics are presented in Table 3.Table 3. Descriptive statistics for NTN indicators

Indicator ATC

Mines.

Max.

Average

Stand.

off.TN

SPN

44

72

61,75

8,74

SPV

48

71

60,16

6,87

E

46

69

62,75

7,63

ITN

SPN

38

74

54,00

11,13

SPV

39

74

55,95

8,85

E

37

61

48,38

9,76

MITN

SPN

18

46

34,00

9,97

SPV

22

47

35,68

6,69

E

18

42

30,25

9,48

3. At the next stage of the mathematical analysis, a pairwise comparison of samples by ATC and parameters of uncertainty tolerance tests was carried out. The significance level according to the nonparametric Kraskel-Wallace criterion was 0.05.

Statistically significant differences were revealed for the ATC distributions of the following indicators: TNL, OH, NEOS, PN and OB (see Table 4).

Table 4. Results of paired comparisons of ATC by indicators of tolerance to uncertainty

ATCTNL

he

NEOS

ONS

MON

TIN

aboutTN

ITN

MITN

SPN SPV

0,634

0,0270,974

0,163a

0,0300,076 a

0,911

0,432 a

0,714 a

0,613 a

SPN E

0,0080,003

0,004

0,003

0,003

SPV E

0,0010,055

0,0020,018

0,001

The values for statistically significant comparisons are highlighted.

a. Multiple comparisons are not performed because the general criterion does not detect significant differences across all samples.

Significantly different in terms of TNL group E and SPN (p = 0.008), E and SPV (p = 0.001).

According to the OH indicator, the groups of SPN and SPV were significantly different (p = 0.027). The SPN respondents had significantly low scores compared to the E respondents (p = 0.003). The absence of differences between the SPV and E groups reflects the preference of the respondents of these groups for the new familiar.

The SPN and SPV respondents had significantly low NEO scores compared to the E respondents (p = 0.004 and p = 0.002, respectively), which indicates that they avoided difficult tasks.

According to the PN indicator, the SPN respondents had a significantly lower average score compared to the SPV respondents (p = 0.030). Both of these groups significantly differed in average score from respondents E (p = 0.003 and p = 0.018, respectively).

Statistically significant differences in the OB index were revealed between the groups E and SPN (p = 0.003), E and SPV (p = 0.001). The heuristic level respondents had a significantly higher tolerance to uncertainty in general than the stimulus level respondents of both subgroups.

Discussion The study of the peculiarities of the attitude to uncertainty in people with different levels of performance, development of intelligence and types of motivation within the framework of the domestic methodology allowed us to look at the problem of adaptation / preadaptation from a certain position.

Adaptation can be viewed from two sides. On the one hand, the performance of any activity requires mastering its operational and technical side, i.e. ways to solve the problem, all operations of this activity. On the other hand, adaptation is understood only as the fulfillment of what is set. In this sense, adaptation is opposed to preadaptation going beyond the set. We consider the adaptation/preadaptation ratio in terms of dominant motivation. Adaptation as mastery of a system of knowledge and methods of action is provided by the motivation of achievement. Preadaptation as the development of self-initiated activity (creativity) is possible only with the dominance of cognitive motivation.

Subjects who have shown creative abilities are significantly more tolerant to uncertainty, compared with respondents of the stimulus level. They are distinguished by a more positive attitude to uncertain situations, acceptance of the complexity, inconsistency and unpredictability of the surrounding world, a subjective attitude to life, an optimistic attitude. People who tend to perform externally stimulated activities and do not show intellectual initiative, experience discomfort in uncertain situations, fear of the unknown, tend to clarity, unambiguity and artificial simplification of reality.

Stimulus-level respondents with low intelligence tend to avoid new situations and tasks, to feel anxious about them compared to subjects who have shown creative abilities. Stimulus-level subjects with high intelligence and achievement motivation, despite the fact that they prefer the new over the familiar, do not develop further activities on their own initiative, unlike people of the heuristic level. It can be assumed that with the dominance of the achievement motive, new situations and tasks act as an arena for them to achieve success and self-affirmation. With the dominance of cognitive motivation, the desire to comprehend the new and penetrate into the essence of phenomena is realized.

Novelty for the subjects of the stimulus level with high intelligence can be the factor that stimulates and maintains interest in the activity until it becomes mastered, which means monotonous and routine. This phenomenon has similarities with the behavior of people in the "Creative Field" method. Participants of the incentive level with high intelligence tried to solve the tasks presented faster and solved them until they reached perfection, in their opinion, i.e. until they mastered the method of solution. Realizing that they had reached a level of performance that did not change, they became bored and there was a need for something new. Here are some evidential and explanatory replicas from the experiment for this phenomenon. "At first it was interesting, then I got tired, then I did it because I wanted to prove that I could still do it. ...such monotonous actions... they get boring in the end" (P6). "I actually, well, don't really like such monotonous ones... calculate what is already clear Well, I would probably be interested in some other situation" (P5). After mastering the solution method, a person no longer sees the possibility of his own movement in activity. Moreover, the stronger the motive of achievement, the more a person is willing to endure and mechanically perform actions.

Subjects with creative abilities prefer complex tasks. At the level of externally stimulated activity, avoidance of complex tasks is characteristic. Respondents with low intelligence, experiencing difficulties when faced with difficult situations and tasks, treated them negatively. Fear and avoidance of failure can be the consequences of negative experiences and self-doubt.

An interesting fact is that the subjects with the dominant motive of achievement, having high intelligence, also prefer not to face difficult tasks. A situation of uncertainty does not guarantee satisfaction of the achievement motive. Avoiding difficult tasks, difficulties, can be associated with an unwillingness to face the threat and risk of self-affirmation and success. This desire for success, fear of evaluation and the possibility of failure do not allow you to engage in cognitive activity and fully demonstrate your abilities.

It is important to identify such a psychological moment that subjects with high intelligence and a motive for achievement can not refuse to solve complex problems. The desire to solve complex problems may indicate a high level of development of the achievement motive. The preference for solving complex tasks and the higher risk that a person takes and from which he will not give up, will not give up, are indicators of a very high motive for achievement. The data obtained can be explained by the fact that participants with an extremely high achievement motive did not meet among the participants.

Consideration of the attitude to uncertainty by the preference/avoidance vector revealed differences between the three selected groups: from the preference for uncertainty at the heuristic level to the tendency to avoid uncertainty, to treat it negatively in respondents with low intelligence.

Subjects with creative abilities showed significantly higher indicators of tolerance to uncertainty compared to participants of the stimulus level, regardless of the level of intelligence. Gifted people do not stop before uncertainty and uncertainty, but, driven by cognitive need and possessing cognitive means, are aimed at an in-depth understanding of the situation, thanks to which they advance in cognition and awareness of reality. Subjects who are able to perform only externally stimulated activities are helpless in the face of a situation of uncertainty. Achievement motivation limits the development of the thinking process even in the presence of high intelligence, which affects the negative perception of the situation of uncertainty and inability to cope with it.

Conclusions1. The creative level of performance distinguishes people who are significantly more tolerant of uncertainty from respondents who tend to perform only a given activity.

2. People who are capable of creativity prefer the new over the familiar. High intelligence combined with motivation to achieve, despite the preference of such people for new situations and tasks, do not contribute to the development of activities on their own initiative. Novelty stimulates and maintains interest in the activity during its development, after which the activity becomes boring and mechanically performed due to the dominance of the achievement motive. In such a situation, there is no development of activity. With the dominance of cognitive motivation, the desire to comprehend the new is realized and creative abilities are manifested.

3. Preference for complex tasks is typical for people with creative abilities. People whose activities are externally stimulated tend to avoid complex tasks, regardless of the level of intelligence development, since a situation of uncertainty does not guarantee satisfaction of the motive of achievement.

4. The attitude to uncertainty according to the preference/ avoidance vector is different among people with creative abilities and groups of people whose activities are externally stimulated, with high and low intelligence.

5. People with creative abilities showed significantly higher indicators of tolerance to uncertainty compared to people of the incentive level, regardless of the level of intelligence. Gifted people, driven by cognitive need, are aimed at an in-depth understanding of the situation, thanks to which they advance in cognition and awareness of reality. People who are able to perform only a given activity are helpless in the face of a situation of uncertainty. Achievement motivation limits the development of the thinking process even in the presence of high intelligence, which affects the negative perception of the situation of uncertainty and inability to cope with it.

The development of self-initiated activities as a unit of creativity, therefore, is the way that allows you to overcome situations of uncertainty. Such people, despite the uncertainty, are able to continue their activities, delve into the situation. Cognitive motivation helps to follow the path of cognition in new, complex, contradictory and unpredictable situations. The study of creativity as a way to overcome uncertainty reveals the mechanism of preadaptation.



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