Ronald A. Finke

American cognitive scientist, and Professor of Psychology

Ronald A. Finke (1950- November 4, 2015) was an American cognitive scientist, and Professor of Psychology at the Texas State University, particularly known from his 1992 book Creative cognition: Theory, research, and applications.


  • Surrogate percept, allowing people to detect some pattern or property in a remembered scene that they did not encode explicitly when they saw the scene initially.
    • S. Pinker and R.A. Finke (1980). "Emergent two Dimensional Patterns in Images Rotated in Depth," in: Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance. 6(2): p. 246

Creative Imagery, 1990


R.A. Finke (1990). Creative Imagery. New Jersey.

  • Perceptual interpretive processes are applied to mental images in much the same way that they are applied to actual physical objects. In this sense, imagined objects can be "interpreted" much like physical objects.
    • p. 18
  • The image discoveries which then ’emerge’ resemble the way perceptual discoveries can follow the active exploration and manipulation of physical objects.
    • p. 119

Creative cognition: Theory, research, and applications. 1992


Ronald A. Finke, Thomas B. Ward, and Steven M. Smith. "Creative cognition: Theory, research, and applications." (1992).

  • Restricting the ways in which creative cognition are interpreted encourages creative exploration and discovery and further reduces the likelihood that a person will fall back on conventional lines of thought.
    • p. 32; as cited in: Mark A. Runco (2014), Creativity: Theories and Themes: Research, Development, and Practice, p. 190

Quotes about Ronald A. Finke

  • Finke et al. (1992) proposed a cognitive model of creative thinking called geneplore, a name that emphasizes the importance of generative and exploratory phases of the creative process. In the generative phase, one uses processes such as retrieval, analogical transfer, or mental transformation to construct representations of ideas that may take various forms such as visual patterns, verbal combinations, or mental models. These initial ideas, referred to as preinventive forms, ideally have properties such as novelty, meaningfulness, and emergent qualities. Exploratory processes can then be used to develop the initially generated ideas for specific purposes.
    • Steven M. Smith, Thomas B. Ward, and Jay S. Schumacher. "Constraining effects of examples in a creative generation task." Memory & cognition 21.6 (1993): 837-845.