Exploring the effects of age, gender, and school setting on children’s creative thinking skills

Bhagyashree Shah, Erik Gustafsson

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The current study aimed to investigate whether age, gender, and testing environment may have an effect on children’s creativity in a real‐life setting. Participants included 111 children aged from seven to eleven years. They were given one verbal (Guilford’s Alternative Uses Task) and one figural (Test for Creative Thinking–Drawing Production) creative thinking task either in their everyday classroom or in their school “art room.” On average, in the verbal task, girls tended to outperform boys in fluency and flexibility. Contrary to the 4th‐grade slump found in previous studies, divergent thinking, on average, increased with age for verbal originality and verbal elaboration. These results suggest the potential importance of experience on verbal creativity tasks. In the verbal task, for the originality score, and in the drawing task, participants in the art room displayed, on average, greater levels of creative thinking than those in the classroom. These findings suggest that the physical environment can affect differently children’s creative potential.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)546-553
Number of pages8
JournalThe Journal of Creative Behavior
Issue number2
Early online date12 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021


  • creativity
  • 4th-grade slump
  • divergent thinking
  • contextual variables


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