The GAM/DP Theory of Personality and Creativity
by: William A. Therivel, PhD
Vol 1 Vol 2 Vol 3 Vol 4 Vol 5 Vol 6
  HomeContentsAuthorBuy the Books 
-GAM/DP Synopsis
-GAM Introduction
-DP Introduction
-GAM/DP Summary
-Mozart and not Salieri
-Personality Families
-Berlin's Hedgehogs & Foxes
-James Joyce - Fox
-Newton's Personality Styles
-Gifted and Talented
-GAM's Marginal Men
-GAM's Heidegger
-GAM's Nietzsche
-GAM's Nathaniel Hawthorne
-German Ethnopsychology
-Japanese Ethnopsychology
-French Ethnopsychology
-Spanish Ethnopsychology
-Chinese Ethnopsychology
-Argentine Ethnopsychology
-Byzantium's Creativity
-Venice's Creativity
-Chaucer's Griselda
-Western Medicine's Origins
-Individual Growth by Thinking GxAxMxDP
William A. Therivel
William Therivel
found at Amazon
-High Creativity Unmasked
-Studying Power
-Studying National Characters
-Studying National Creativity
Biography of Author

Welcome to the website

The GAM/DP Theory of Personality and Creativity.

Volumes 1 to 6

by William A. Therivel, PhD
ISBN 1-886513 (50-3; 51-1; 52-X; 53-6; 63-5), Hardbound, $40

Willam Therivel - found at Amazon

The GAM/DP theory deals with what makes an individual creative, and what makes a society creative.

G stands for genetic endowment, A for assistances, M for misfortunes, DP for division of power (UP for unity of power).


Why are some people eminently creative? What explains the nature of their creativity, their interest in broad all encompassing solutions or the in-depth analysis of man's good and evil? Why are some creators luminous and brilliant, and others somber and bitter?

The answers to these questions rest first in their personality, then in the world around them which nourished them; in understanding the individual potential for creativity and the nature of that potential, then in why a given city, nation, culture or civilization fosters creativity or impedes it.

The GAM part of the theory focuses on the basis of the potential for creativity; the DP part of the theory focuses on understanding how the ethnopsychology of a given people is shaped, changes over time, and fosters or hinders individual creativity.


The potential for creativity can be expressed by the formula GxAxMxDP. To be creative, one must be born with a good Genetic Endowment (e.g., for intelligence, temperament, specific talents), must have received supportive Assistances (e.g., from parents, relatives, schools, teachers, and playmates), and must have lived in a stimulating place open to new ideas, possible only under economic, political, and ideological Division of Power.


The novelty of the GAM theory is its emphasis on the study of M (the misfortunes of youth). Major misfortunes prevent the acquisition of normal parental and societal scripts. A vacuum of normal scripts leads to the questions, "Who says so?" and "Why?"

Tolstoy once said: "Happy families are all alike, every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." And yet some misfortunes of youth are more creativogenic than others, and people who suffer similar misfortunes of youth, have similar personalities (at the level of their philosophy of life).

The most creativogenic misfortunes of youth-- if backed by a strong GxAxDP which allows the youth to understand and profit from them-- are: early parental death (Bach, Buddha, Dante, Newton, Tolstoy), father failure of character/profession (Goethe, James Joyce, Mozart, Picasso), physical infirmity, suffered lack of parental love, parental domination, suffered illegitimate birth, and downfall of the family's social economic status. Each type of misfortune leads to the build-up of individual scripts which will then conflict with those of society in a life-long war of the scripts: the tension and material for creativity.

GAM can be used in two ways: first in the discussion of the youth of individual eminent creators and how their key misfortunes impacted their personality and creativity, and second in posing and answering original questions.

Why are some people eminently creative? Questions posed and answered by the GAM part of the theory:

  • Why Mozart and not Salieri? 1:21
  • Why did Heidegger write a poem entitled "Gethsemane Hours"? 1:26
  • Why did Leonardo paint 16 incongruous horses in his Adoration of the Magi? 5:8
  • In whose astonishing company is God in Michelangelo's Creation of Adam? 5:32
Mozart Salieri

Through GAM we can discover why a writer/thinker became a Berlinian hedgehog or fox2 , and why a painter or sculptor became a Newtonian classic, romantic, or realist creator, in the classification by Eric Newton. (1:9, 3:2, 3:7).

For instance:

  • Italo Calvino and Goethe: Foxes 3:5

  • The Berlinian arch-fox Isaiah Berlin. 4:6

  • Master fox James Joyce. 1:10

Subsequently, the study of the youth of eminent creators--linked to a new classification of creativity from C1 to C10--led to the following observation (3:1):

  • Gifted/talented children (high GxA) will (should) become successful professionals; challenged children (high GxAxM) will (should) become geniuses.

The second part of the theory states that long periods of division of power, DP (e.g. when power is fought or grudgingly shared between state and church; when two or more major ideologies fight each other) give origin to the visitor personality. Alternatively, long periods of unity of power, UP (one single ruler or dominating hierarchy, one single dominating ideology) promote the insular personality.

DP fosters critical thinking. Visitors have the courage to speak their mind, to be creative on matters that are not those of the power holder; they go places and take risks, because in case of trouble with power A, they can seek help from power B. Therefore, visitors take initiatives for the common good because they do not trust the supremo who is more interested in his personal power and glory. Visitors are creative, insulars are not.

Why do some societies foster creativity? Questions posed and answered by the DP part of the theory:
  • Would we have had scientific medicine without the public dissections performed under the DP of Bologna in 1315 by Mondino de' Luzzi? 1:13, 4:14; 5:23
  • Which power condition (DP or UP) shaped the evolution of the Christian iconography: from Jesus the Good Shepherd, to Jesus the Pantocrator, to Jesus of the People "Jesus 2000"? 4:10
  • Why did Venice have no great writers when it had great painters, architects and musicians? 4:13
  • Did the Mandarins kill the Chinese civilization? 1:19
  • How did 18th century America produce so many great men? 5:25
  • How did 19th century Russia produce so many great men? 5:27
  • A UP explanation of Argentina's difficulties 4:16
  • A DP explanation of the liberating power of the English Bible 3:11
Another important ethnopsychological type is the ritter (knight/warrior), shaped by the partial unity of power of the German princes (1:25); and the strict ritter, shaped by the partial unity of power of the Japanese daimyo (3:9).

In turn these two chapters lead to such questions as :

  • Why did the famous German Kultur fail? 5:16
  • Why do Americans work longer if they succeeded at the first task, while the Japanese work longer if they failed? 4:21
  Dr. William A. Therivel


1The numbers indicate volume:chapter.

2According to Isaiah Berlin, hedgehogs relate everything to a single central vision, a single, universal principle, through which all that they are and say has significance; foxes pursue many, often unrelated and even contradictory ends. Eminent hedgehogs were Dante, Plato, Pascal, Dostoyevsky, Nietzsche, Proust; eminent foxes were Shakespeare, Molière, Goethe, Pushkin, Balzac, Joyce.

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