Tests designed to identify creative talentIn recent years a number of psychologists have turned their attention to the subject of creativity, for two major reasons: first, they have recognized that creative ability is not the same as academic intelligence, but involves nonintellectual factors such as receptivity to novel ideas and relaxed attention to problems; second, they felt that creativity research might help to meet the demand for new ideas in science, technology, and social affairs as well as in the arts.A number of investigations have been made of the factors involved in creativity, notably by Guilford and his associates in their work for the Office of Naval Research (Guilford, 1954). In this project many new tests were developed and administered to students and military personnel. When the results were analyzed, three factors appeared to be most closely associated with creativity, or “divergent thinking”: fluency, flexibility, and originality. A few sample items from Guilford’s Southern California Tests of Divergent Production will be given to illustrate the type of tests used to measure these factors.Word Fluency. Within an allotted time, the subject writes as many words as he can containing a given letter, or beginning with a certain prefix, or rhyming with a given word. Performance on these tests has been found to correlate fairly well with achievement in science and art courses.Ideational Fluency. Naming things that belong in a certain class, such as solids that will not burn; or listing different uses for a common object such as a ruler.associational Fluency. Listing as many words as possible that are similar in meaning to a given word such as “excellent”; or inserting an adjective tocomplete a simile; for example “as as a firecracker.”Expressional Fluency. The subject is given a series of four letters and is required to make as many sentences as possible using them as first letters of words: “M-A-T-S” (Mothers are too serious, etc.).Flexibility. Several tests are used, including Hidden Pictures (finding concealed faces), Hidden Figures (finding a geometric figure embedded in a more complex pattern); and Match Problems (removing a given number of match- sticks to leave a given number of squares or triangles)Originality. One of the items is a Free Association Test in which the subject gives the first word that occurs to him in response to a stimulus word. The responses are scored on the basis of uncommonness. A study by Licht (1947) has shown that scientists, engineers, artists, musicians, and writers tend to give more original associations than executives, politicians, teachers, or salesmen. A second item is the Consequences Test, which calls for listing as many different consequences of a specified event as possible—for example, “What would happen if every telephone went dead at the same time?” This test yields a score for ideational fluency based on the number of obvious responses, and a score for originality based on the number of remote responses. Moderately high correlations (.30 to .55) have been found between the originality scores and teachers’ ratings of the creativity of their students in art and science. Approximately the same correlations were found between scores on the ingenuity test in the FACT battery and criteria of originality in high school art and English classes. See APTITUDE TESTS (Multiple).Many other types of items are used in creativity tests by different authors. Among them are “fable endings”—for example, writing a moralistic, a humorous, and a sad ending for a story about a mischievous dog that bites people without warning (Getzels and Jackson); “pattern meanings”—naming possible objects suggested by abstract geometrical patterns (Wallach and Kogan); “remote associations”—finding a fourth word associated with three other words, such as “rat—blue—cottage” (Med- nick); and “ingenuity”—solving a practical problem, such as how to restore transmission after a high wind has destroyed a television tower in a small town on a flat prairie (Flanagan). The Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking present a variety of word and picture items. The battery entitled Thinking Creatively with Words contains such “activities” as: presenting an intriguing picture and asking the subject to write questions he would ask to find out what is happening, and listing possible causes and consequences of the action depicted; suggesting ways of improving a given toy; listing unusual uses for a common object and asking unusual questions about it. A second battery, Thinking Creatively with Pictures, consists of drawing an interesting picture that incorporates a given brightly colored CRETINISM curved shape; completing an unusual picture from a few given lines; and producing as many pictures as possible from pairs of short parallel lines or circles.The Torrance Tests were developed as part of a research program focused on experiences that foster creativity in the classroom. Other creativity tests have been specifically designed for use with engineers: the AC Test of Creative Ability, the Owens Creativity Test for Machine Design, and the Purdue Creativity Test.Undoubtedly many new instruments will be devised in the near future, and it may well be that factors other than fluency, flexibility and originality or ingenuity will be stressed. In fact, Guilford and others have already indicated that tests of reasoning and evaluation are particularly important in creative scientific achievement, to counterbalance the emphasis on free divergent thinking. Among the tests employed for these purposes are the Ship Destination Test, Logical Reasoning, Pertinent Questions, and the Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal. In addition, it is now recognized that special factors of a visual, auditory and kinesthetic nature may be essential in the arts, although many of these factors have yet to be identified. Applications of creativity and problem-solving tests have produced many provocative findings. Several studies have indicated that exceptional problem solving ability is frequently associated with the trait of nonconformity (Nakamura, 1958). High school students who score high on creativity tests tend to prefer the more unconventional careers and admire personal characteristics which differ from those they think their teachers prefer (Getzels and Jackson, 1962). These investigators have also found that top scorers on creativity tests average 23 IQ points less than the top scorers in intelligence tests, and were frequently unable to solve problems that required rigid, systematic, “convergent” thinking. Various studies have shown that the more creative children tend to be less anxious, more easygoing, more sociable, more self- dependent, and more aware of unconscious motives than other children. They also tend to come from families that permit risk-taking and recognize divergent ideas and interests.One especially interesting effect of the current investigations is that creativity is becoming a meeting ground for the two general areas of art and science. As Anastasi remarks (1961), “Investigations of scientific talent are becoming increasingly concerned with creative ability. Interest has shifted from the individual who is merely a cautious, accurate and critical thinker to the one who also displays ingenuity, originality, and inventiveness. Thus creativity, long regarded as the prime quality in artistic production, is coming more and more to be recognized as a basis for scientific achievement as well.” As greater weight is attached to creativity, the intelligence tests of the future will probably include productive thinking in addition to their traditional emphasis on understanding and recall. See ESTHETICS, CREATIVE THINKING.

Cite this page: N., Sam M.S., "CREATIVITY TESTS," in, November 28, 2018, (accessed October 6, 2022).


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