UC Berkeley Institute of Personality and Social Research

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IPAR Creativity Studies Come to Light

Recently there has been a flurry of activity and interest in the IPAR archives. Pierluigi Serraino, a prominent architect, author, and educator has just released a book based on the IPAR study of creativity in architects called "The Creative Architect: Inside the great midcentury personality study". The book tells the story of how 40 of the most renowned architects of the era (including such luminaries as Eero Saarinen, Louis Kahn, and Philip Johnson) came to IPAR for three days of testing, interviews, and group interactions, all under the watchful eyes of the IPAR scholars and staff. It's a fascinating story about a remarkably ambitious research project that never really came to fruition, much of it lost to history until now. The book is filled with wonderful photos, correspondence, and test responses of the research subjects.

This month, Elizabeth and Bob participated in an interview for 99% Invisible, a highly regarded podcast that is preparing an episode devoted to the new book and the IPAR study. We believe that the podcast will also include excerpts from audio recordings recovered from the archives of the architects engaged in various group activities.

We have recovered other fascinating materials from the study of creative writers done at IPAR during this period and are planning a presentation for the IPSR Fall colloquium series that will focus on one of the writers who was studied, Truman Capote. This colloquium will be the first of what we hope will be a series of multidisciplinary presentations looking at the lives and IPAR assessments of some of the creative giants who participated in these studies.