James C. Kaufman

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James C. Kaufman
Born (1974-09-21) September 21, 1974 (age 41)
Great Neck, New York, U.S.
Nationality American
Fields Creativity, Cognitive Psychology, Personality Psychology
Institutions University of Connecticut
Alma mater Yale University, University of Southern California
Influences Robert J. Sternberg, John L. Horn

James C. Kaufman (born 1974) is a psychologist known for his research on creativity. He is a Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Connecticut. Previously, he taught at the California State University, San Bernardino, where he directed the Learning Research Institute. He received his Ph.D. from Yale University in Cognitive Psychology, where he worked with Robert J. Sternberg. Born in Great Neck, New York, he attended the University of Southern California as an undergraduate, where he worked with both John L. Horn and famed novelist T. Coraghessan Boyle. His parents are psychologists Alan S. Kaufman and Nadeen L. Kaufman.

He is a prolific researcher and editor who is best known for his theoretical contributions to the study of creativity.[1] With Sternberg and Jean Pretz, he developed the propulsion model of creative contributions, outlined in The Creativity Conundrum (Psychology Press, 2002),[2] and with John Baer developed the Amusement Park Theoretical (APT) Model of Creativity.[3] His latest theoretical work, with Ron Beghetto, is the Four-C Model of Creativity. This model explores the idea of expanding traditional conceptions of eminent creativity ("Big-C") and everyday creativity ("little-c") to include "mini-c"—creativity that is inherent in the learning process—and "Pro-c"—creativity at a professional level that has not yet had a historical impact.[4]

Kaufman's empirical work has focused on a few different key areas. Most media attention has focused on his research on creativity and mental illness. He coined “the Sylvia Plath Effect,” after finding that female poets were more likely to be mentally ill than other writers, in a paper in the Journal of Creative Behavior,[5] and his work on poets dying young has been featured in the New York Times,[6] NPR, BBC, CNN, and newspapers and magazines across the world. He has recently focused on issues of creativity and fairness, arguing that creativity should be a supplemental part of college admissions [7]

Kaufman has written and edited 31 books, including Creativity 101 (Springer, 2009), the Cambridge Handbook of Creativity (with Sternberg; Cambridge, 2010), Essentials of Creativity Assessment (with Jonathan A. Plucker and John Baer; Wiley, 2008), The International Handbook of Creativity (with Sternberg; Cambridge, 2006), and The Psychology of Creative Writing (with Scott Barry Kaufman, Cambridge, 2009). He is the Series Editor of the Psych 101 series from Springer.

Kaufman edits Psychology of Popular Media Culture, published by the American Psychological Association. He was the founding co-editor of the official journal of the American Psychological Association's Division 10, Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, from 2006-2012. He received the 2003 Daniel E. Berlyne Award from Division 10 of the American Psychological Association for outstanding research by a junior scholar; the National Association of Gifted Children's 2008 E. Paul Torrance Award for creativity research; the 2009 Western Psychological Association Early Career in Research Award; the 2011 Paul Farnworth Award, also from Division 10 of the American Psychological Association, for service to the division; and the 2011-2012 Mensa Award for Research Excellence [1]. He is a past president of the American Psychological Association's Division 10.


  1. ^ http://today.uconn.edu/blog/2014/03/creativity-expert-james-kaufman-joins-uconn-faculty/
  2. ^ Sternberg, R. J., Kaufman, J. C., & Pretz, J. E. (2002). The creativity conundrum. Philadelphia: Psychology Press
  3. ^ Baer, J., & Kaufman, J. C. (2005). Bridging generality and specificity: The Amusement Park Theoretical (APT) Model of creativity. Roeper Reviewer, 27, 158-163.
  4. ^ Kaufman, J. C., & Beghetto, R. A. (2009). Beyond Big and Little: The Four C Model of Creativity. Review of General Psychology, 13, 1-12.
  5. ^ Kaufman, J. C. (2001). The Sylvia Plath effect: Mental illness in eminent creative writers. Journal of Creative Behavior, 35 (1), 37-50
  6. ^ Lee, F. R. (April 24, 2004). Going early into that good night. New York Times, Arts p, 1, 4.
  7. ^ Kaufman, J. C. (2010). Using creativity to reduce ethnic bias in college admissions. Review of General Psychology, 14, 189-203.

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