Can You Inherit Creativity – Is DNA the Answer?

Creativity is something often defined as imaginativeness, or rather the practice of said imaginativeness to create new things, art, music, inventions, anything. This practice of creating novel stuff certainly needs to be nurtured over time, through vigilant exercise and most certainly an open and interested mind.

But what if the foundation for that creativity lies in our genes? Can our parents and grandparents really influence the way we look at things and whether we will develop a keen interest in creativity and thus make something new?

The centuries-old nature vs nurture question is still valid and remains partly unanswered.


The nature argument points towards the parents and the genes to the point where many things might be just written down in a pattern, not to be changed or interfered with. To some extent, you are allowed to vary from your parents’ course, but in this modern world, that would be a very outdated argument.

So, we turn our heads towards research and studies of the hereditary possibilities regarding creativity. Mark Roeling and colleague researchers from the universities of Oxford and Vrije extensively went over the data from the Netherlands Twin Register. The data contained information on around 1600 non-identical twins and 1800 identical ones. The non-identical twins shared less than fifty percent of their gene pool, unlike identical twins who shared more than that.

They ended up concluding that 70% of the difference between the twins who followed their siblings to a creative career compared to those who didn’t is attributed to genes.

Looking only at the career paths of choice is just one way of looking at things. It would be recommended to pay attention to hobbies and other creative endeavors which are not associated with the career path.


The nurture argument points towards a more open-minded view of upbringing and the application of the good old “practice makes perfect”. People raised in a creative environment, let’s say children of an artist and a musician are more likely to be exposed and to grow fond of music and art. Their affinity towards art and music, while existing, does not mean that they will take up art or music as their career, nor that they will be good at it.

A person must practice their profession or hobby if they want to be better at it and while being creative helps, nurturing that creativity is essential. An artist cannot express themselves if their hands cannot perform the necessary movements and the same goes for the musician, whether they are playing an instrument or working through software to produce music.

Likewise, the creative process requires more than just knowledge of the subject, but also an open mind and a willingness to explore and embrace new things. These can be genetic traits but they also must be encouraged and practiced.

Children who have the potential for creativity and whose potential is suppressed will not get very far.

Nurture is definitely important to the creative process and making it better and efficient. Nature also plays a vital role, as you might just get an edge or foundation which can then be transformed into creative miracles. Look to your genes but know that you can make the necessary adaptations and changes to be the creative genius you want to be.