M. Alexenberg, Aesthetic Experience in Creative Process, Ramat Gan, Israel: Bar-Ilan University Press, 1981.

From the book jacket:

An aesthetic experience is an intrinsically valued experience.  Human learning at its best is an aesthetic experience of the highest order.

To better understand this aesthetic mode of creative learning, Professor Alexenberg interviewed some of America’s most successful learners – scientists elected to the National Academy of Sciences and awarded the Nobel Prize, and artists of equal prominence.

Art and science, two fields often viewed as polar opposites, were found to share a common structure when the dynamics of creative process was analyzed.  Both artists and scientists described a process that culminates in the buoyant joy that comes from bursting into consciousness of new and fresh knowledge.  They described the beginning of the creative process as a “messing about” phase in which broad scanning is gradually narrowed to a more directed search.  It was characterized as a period of vacillation between intense involvement and relaxed detachment and between confidence and self-doubt.  The sudden awareness of a newly formed whole came as the climax of the process.  They spoke about a post-climactic phase in which the elation of climax was reduced to an aesthetic glow.

Professor Alexenberg develops an ecological model in a graphic form based upon Ross Mooney’s creative-systems model and Kurt Lewin’s field-theory model.  It provides a map of a man-environment system on which the dynamics of creative process can be plotted.

In summary, Aesthetic Experience in Creative Process has three components: 1) a description of three phases of aesthetic creation common to art and science, 2) an ecological model as a way of picturing creative process, and 3) transcriptions of twenty in-depth interviews.