Perception of the most creative Chinese by undergraduates in Beijing, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, and Taipei

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-104
Journal / PublicationJournal of Creative Behavior
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2002


This study surveys 489 undergraduates in Beijing, Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Taipei about their nomination of most creative Chinese people in history and in modern times. Politicians were nominated by all four samples as being the most creative individuals in the past and at present. Scientists and inventors ranked second in position. Taken together, they occupy over 90 percent of the total number of nominations. Artists, musicians and businessmen are rarely nominated. More than half of the reasons given for nominating these people are not directly related to creativity. This finding is attributed to a strong utilitarian view of creativity that lies in Chinese young people's perception of creativity. They are much more concerned with a creator's social influence or contribution in society than with his or her innovativeness in thinking. The paper concludes by addressing some methodological implications for further studies on the issue.