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A New Look at the Creativity-Intelligence Distinction

Kogan, Nathan; Wallach, Michael A.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Memorandum
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Office of Education, Cognitive Measurement, Creativity, Intelligence, Intelligence Tests


Psychological research was reviewed in order to determine the existence of creativity as an aspect of cognitive functioning that stands apart from the traditional concept of general intelligence. Preliminary review indicated that various tests of creativity measured nothing in common that was distinct from general intelligence, and that creativity is multi-faceted. Two concerns, however, made that conclusion premature. First, creativity testing measured a large variety of different abilities; second, little attention was given to the social and psychological aspects testing. The research indicated conflicting views about testing creativity with an evaluative, succeed or fail approach, versus a more permissive atmosphere. A study was conducted with 151 fifth grade children; the examiners fostered an atmosphere of playing games rather than testing. Uniqueness and total number of associations were measured for five kinds of associations. General intelligence was measured using the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, the School and College Ability Tests, and the Sequential Tests of Educational Progress. Both creativity and intelligence measures were highly reliable. While creativity and intelligence measures were highly intercorrelated with themselves, the correlations between the two sets of measures was extremely low. This supported the independence of creativity and intelligence. Further research investigated the psychological significance of creativity, considering individual differences on both dimensions, creativity and intelligence, jointly. Four groups of children within each sex were composed: those high in both creativity and intelligence, those low in both, and those high in one and low in the other. A single intelligence score and a creativity score were obtained for each child. Ratings of social, achievement, and affective behavior were also obtained. A psychological profile of each group and implications for instruction are included. Complete version of paper presented in abridged form at APA, Los Angeles, September 1964.

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