Domain-general and domain-specific creative-thinking tests: Effects of gender and item content on test performance

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The study examined the effects of gender and item content of domain-general and domain-specific creative-thinking tests on four subscale scores of creative-thinking (fluency, flexibility, originality, and elaboration). Chinese tenth-grade students (234 males and 244 females) participated in the study. Domain-general creative thinking was measured by using two domain-independent items—box and newspaper. Domain-specific creative thinking was measured in the domain of history by two history-specific items—school uniform and health food—that were part of lessons in modern Chinese history. Domain-general creative-thinking scores were not different across gender in any of the four subscales. In domain-specific creative thinking, female students produced more responses (fluency) and more categories of ideas (flexibility), and more detailed answers (elaboration) on both items than did males. Gender difference was not found in originality. Item effects were significant in both general and specific creative-thinking scores, with higher fluency, flexibility, and elaboration for the newspaper than the box item, and higher fluency, flexibility, originality, and elaboration for the school uniform than the health food item. The findings on both gender and item effects support the contention that personal interest and life experience influence the generation of creative solutions. The finding that gender did not differ in domain-general creative-thinking was expected, as the two general items (box and newspaper) are experienced similarly by both genders. As most of the creative-thinking tests are influenced by individuals' experience beyond creative-thinking ability, judicial evaluation and use of creative-thinking scores are underscored.


Cognitive Psychology | Education | Educational Psychology | Psychology