Effects of positive mood on generative and evaluative thinking in creative problem solving among middle schoolers

Jennifer Michelle Scheinholtz, Fordham University

Abstract

The goal of this study was to examine the role of positive mood on generative and evaluative thinking in creative problem solving. Participants included 89 middle school students induced into a positive or neutral mood while completing a problem solving task. One group was randomly chosen to receive the control (neutral mood) condition while the other group was induced with a positive mood. Mood conditions involved a short video of two comedians and a video of a geographic topic. After participants watched the video they completed the PANAS scale to determine their current mood.^ Participants were then divided into three groups given a divergent thinking task to complete. Group 1 was asked to generate potential solutions to a problem (generative thinking). Group 2 was given one solution to the problem that had been offered by participants' peers in a previous pilot study and then asked to generate possible advantages to this particular solution (evaluative thinking). Group 3 also was given the potential solution but asked to generate potential disadvantages (also evaluative thinking) Thus, the experimental design was a 2 x 3 factorial, with mood and group as independent variables and fluency (number of ideas generated) as the dependent variable.^ It was hypothesized that a positive mood would result in greater fluency, except that in the neutral-mood condition, more disadvantages would be generated than advantages. PANAS scores were significantly higher for the positive mood group, thus supporting treatment fidelity. As for the main effect of mood across Groups 1, 2, and 3, students in a positive mood were significantly more fluent (p < .01). Participants in the neutral-mood condition generated more disadvantages than advantages, but this difference was significant at p < .10. Implications and limitations of these results were discussed. Recommendations for future research were made.^

Subject Area

Education, Middle School|Education, Educational Psychology

Recommended Citation

Scheinholtz, Jennifer Michelle, "Effects of positive mood on generative and evaluative thinking in creative problem solving among middle schoolers" (2009). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3373832.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI3373832

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