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Creativity and Environmental Cues in Nursery School Children NICHD

Ward, William C.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
National Institute for Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), Concept Formation, Creativity Tests, Environmental Influences, Problem Solving


Three creativity tests, each requiring the child to name as many ideas as he or she could that met a simple problem requirement, were administered to 53 nursery school children. Two of these tests were given in a typically barren experimental setting, and served as the basis for dividing the sample into creative and uncreative Ss. The third was given to some Ss under the same cue-poor conditions, but to others in a cue-rich testing environment--a room containing objects and pictures which provided cues to possible responses. Creativity and environmental richness interacted significantly in their effect on ideational production. Creative children gave more responses in a rich than in a poor environment, while uncreative Ss showed no overall effect for environmental cues. It is argued that scanning the environment for task-relevant information is one of the strategies employed by the creative child in his or her search for problem solutions. This interaction also shows that, despite low test intercorrelations, the creativity dimension has some stability across tests and over a period of several months in nursery school children.

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