A follow-up study to Morris' added a reward system to the chimps' sessions of abstract expressionism. The results was that with each reward, the creativity and depth of the painints degenerated until producing only the minimal product necessary to obtain reward from the experimenter (The Biology of Art, Methuen London, 1962).
David Bohm has described this phenomenon as follows:
"In order to do something for a reward, the whole order of the activity, and the energy required for it, are determined by arbitrary requirements that are extraneous to the creative activity itself. This activity then turns into soemthing mechanical and repititious, or else it mechanically seeks change for its own sake. The state of intense passion and vibrant tension that goes with creative perception... then dies away. The whole thing becomes boring and uninteresting so that the kind of energy needed for creative perception and action is lacking. As a result, even greater rewards or punishments are needed to keep the activity going" (Science, order and creativity; 2000).I've written about ADHD before, but was inspired to revisit the topic by a seminar forwarded to me:
So my question is this: to what extent is the reward system of education -- any kind of education -- destructive to the development of the self? Is not the self-consciousness, dissatisfaction and boredom resulting from intervention by directed creativity dangerous to development? Some of what were considered the greatest creative minds of history thwarted standardized education. From the science realm alone (with which I am most familiar), Copernicus meandered through universities for seven years without bothering to fulfill a degree. Da Vinci was educated by the royal Medici family, but education in the Italian Renaissance was its own matter entirely. Tesla boycotted academia at the age of ten. Thomas Edison never went.
On the other hand, in more recent history it has become nearly impossible to achieve recognizable creativity without eons of academic vigor. How is that demand defining the way we structure the reward system of education? We pump in the sedatives to get this "most troubled" generation through the hoops. In so doing, we are pummeling creativity from both ends: reward and sedation. What will become of our next generation of scientists and artists?