Authors: John Everatt, Beverley Steffert, Ian Smythe.

Article: An eye for the unusual: creative thinking in dyslexics.

Publication: Dyslexia (Wiley). 5: 28-46 1999 | DOI: 10.1002/(SICI)1099-0909(199903)5:13.0.CO;2-K


This article describes a series of studies investigating the relationship between developmental dyslexia and creative talents. Tasks performed by the subjects included: finding alternative uses for objects, producing drawn objects from basic shapes, completing a self-report inventory which assessed innovative styles of thinking, and the solving of problems which required some form of insightful thinking. The data indicated both differences between dyslexics and non-dyslexics and differences across age groups. Compared with non-dyslexics, dyslexic adults presented consistent evidence of greater creativity in tasks requiring novelty or insight and more innovative styles of thinking; in contrast, dyslexic primary and secondary school children performed on a level with their non-dyslexic peers on a test which involved making drawings from a number of different shapes (figural creativity). Little evidence was found for an association between creativity and enhanced visuo-spatial skills or between creativity and handedness. Despite evidence being provided for the hypothesized creative talents of dyslexics, it was not possible to confirm that these talents were constitutional in nature or that they were associated with enhanced functioning of the right hemisphere.

Tagged as: adult dyslexia, creativity, dyslexic strengths, and dyslexic talents


Everatt, J., Steffert, B. and Smythe, I. (1999), An eye for the unusual: creative thinking in dyslexics. Dyslexia, 5: 28-46. https://doi.org/10.1002/(SICI)1099-0909(199903)5:13.0.CO;2-K

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