DIVERGENT THINKING OF CONCRETE AND ABSTRACT THINKERS AS INFLUENCED BY CONDITIONS OF TEST ADMINISTRATION

JOAN H COLL, Fordham University

Abstract

The purpose of the present study was to investigate the effects of subjects' conceptual level, status of the task administrator, and task directions on creative production. Conceptual level was measured by Harvey's This I Believe Test (TIB) and was scored by the global method. Creative production was measured by scoring four divergent thinking tasks for fluency, flexibility and originality. Task administrator status was varied by presenting subjects with either a high status professor or a low status student assistant when subjects were given the divergent thinking tasks. Task directions were varied in association with the divergent thinking tasks. Task directions either provided subjects with no specific instructions to guide idea generation or with specific instructions to generate only ideas which were unique and useful.^ The subjects were 71 male and 63 female college students attending a moderately sized four year liberal arts college in the northeast. These students were registered in introductory psychology courses during the day session of the college. There were 80 Anglo-Americans, 33 Cuban Americans, 12 Hispanic Americans, 6 Black Americans, 2 Orientals and 1 American Indian.^ Data were gathered on two separate occasions. To obtain baseline scores at Time 1 the TIB and 2 divergent thinking tasks were administered under neutral test conditions, i.e., no specific experimental manipulations were involved. Directions normally associated with the TIB and divergent thinking tasks were used. At Time 2, two additional divergent thinking tasks were administered. Subjects were randomly assigned to either a high status task administrator or low status task administrator and within this division they were also randomly assigned to structured or unstructured instructions.^ All divergent thinking tasks were scored for fluency, flexibility and originality. Pearson intercorrelations among these scores showed that fluency, flexibility, and originality were significantly and highly intercorrelated. Three separate MANOVAS were computed, one on fluency, flexibility, and originality scores on Task 1 taken at Time 1; one for fluency, flexibility, and originality scores on Task 2 taken at Time 1; and the third on fluency, flexibility, and originality scores from Tasks 3 and 4 taken at Time 2. The results on all analyses yielded no significant main or interaction effects.^ Univariate analyses of variance computations revealed that there were no differences among subjects' divergent thinking task scores from Time 1 and 2. Computing a 3 (conceptual level) X 2 (status) X 2 (instructions) ANOVA on Tasks 3 and 4 scores, significance was found with several of the dependent measures. Fluency 3, flexibility 3, and fluency 4 each showed that conceptual level 2 subjects outperformed both conceptual level 1 subjects and subjects of conceptual levels 3 and 4 combined. These results also showed that subjects exposed to an unstructured task instruction outperformed subjects exposed to a structured task instruction. Status had no significant effect on subjects' performance. These univariate results reflected the pattern which was evident in examining the means and standard deviations of these variables.^ Although fluency, flexibility, and originality were not effected by the independent variables of conceptual level, status of the task administrator, and degree of structure of the task instructions they did suggest that further research in these areas was warranted. An additional suggestion was that further research focus on refining the treatments with the goals of identifying appropriate methods and procedures to enhance creative productivity among individuals. ^

Subject Area

Educational psychology

Recommended Citation

COLL, JOAN H, "DIVERGENT THINKING OF CONCRETE AND ABSTRACT THINKERS AS INFLUENCED BY CONDITIONS OF TEST ADMINISTRATION" (1981). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8119765.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8119765

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