EFFECTS OF COMPETITION AND COOPERATION ON THE PROBLEM SOLVING PERFORMANCE OF HIGH AND LOW CREATIVE SCHOOL CHILDREN (TOWER OF HANOI, TORRANCE TESTS, CREATIVE THINKING, MONITORS, SEX INTERACTIONS)

BERTINE SUE HASKELL MARSHALL, Fordham University

Abstract

This study was conducted to determine if high and low creative school children respond differently to solving a problem, the Tower of Hanoi (TOH), under cooperative and competitive conditions, and to determine if their use of problem solving strategies differs, from least efficient to most efficient: selective search, goal peg, recursive subgoal, and pyramid subgoal.^ A subject population of 144 was drawn from a total fifth and sixth grade population of a suburban middle school who had been administered the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking. High and low creative subjects were randomly assigned to a competitive (N = 36) or a cooperative (N = 108) condition. Subjects competed or cooperated in groups of three where triads in cooperative groups were treated as one observation (N = 36).^ Orientation sessions were conducted to acquaint subjects with the three-disk TOH and the rule requirements for solving it. Experimental conditions with the four-disk TOH followed immediately during which subjects' problem solving verbalizations were recorded for content analysis.^ Monitors attended orientation and experimental sessions to observe the performance of subjects, to record disk to peg moves, and to obtain questionnaire responses pertaining to subjects' interest in solving the TOH and classroom opportunities for working cooperatively. One individual and one group, out of every three, received a prize of choice from an array of prizes, for the most efficient performance, least number of moves above solution minimum of 15.^ A 2 x 2 experimental design was employed. Two-way analyses of variance for the hypotheses found no significant relationships between cooperative/competitive goal structure, creativity level, or strategy employment, on the TOH problem solving performance. Supplemental analyses found a significant interaction between creativity and grade (p < .05) and between creativity and sex (p < .05). The differences that occurred were in the competitive condition between sixth grade females low creative (M = 4.33) and high creative (M = 32.80) and between males fifth grade low creative (M = 24.67) and sixth grade high creative (M = 10.50).^ While some children appeared anxious and performed inefficiently competing, most children performed well cooperating, a trend that is in accord with previous research. The results indicate future research should address the variables of sex and developmental factors when examining the relationships between cooperative/competitive goal structures, creativity, and problem solving. ^

Subject Area

Educational psychology

Recommended Citation

MARSHALL, BERTINE SUE HASKELL, "EFFECTS OF COMPETITION AND COOPERATION ON THE PROBLEM SOLVING PERFORMANCE OF HIGH AND LOW CREATIVE SCHOOL CHILDREN (TOWER OF HANOI, TORRANCE TESTS, CREATIVE THINKING, MONITORS, SEX INTERACTIONS)" (1985). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8508121.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8508121

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