A comparison of the effects of divergent thinking, domain knowledge, and interest on creative performance in art and math

Kyung Nam Jeon, Purdue University

Abstract

Previous studies have provided evidences supporting the view that the role of domain general cognitive factors such as divergent thinking is not as critical to creativity as previously thought. Based on this evidence, some creativity researchers have argued that creativity is domain-specific rather than domain-general and that domain-specific knowledge and skills are more important than domain-general creative thinking abilities for creative performance in a given domain. However, few past studies have examined the direct effects of domain knowledge and skills on creative performance. In addition, past studies have not systematically investigated the possible effects of domain-specific motivational factors, such as interest, on the relationships among domain knowledge, divergent thinking, and creative performance. The purpose of the current study was to investigate and compare the effects of domain knowledge, divergent thinking, and different types of interest (i.e., individual interest and situational interest) on creative performance in art and math, as well as the hypothesized moderating and mediating effects of different types of interest on the relationships among domain knowledge, divergent thinking, and creative performance. 221 Korean eighth grade students from two public middle schools in Korea participated in the present study. A series of hierarchical multiple regression analyses were conducted to test the main effects of the variables of the study as well as the hypothesized moderating and mediating effects of the two types of interest. Regarding the main effects, divergent thinking did have statistically significant main effects on creative performance both in art and math. Domain knowledge also had statistically significant main effects on creative performance both in art and math. The main effects of the two types of interest on creative performance in art and math were not statistically significant except that there was a statistically significant main effect of situational interest on creative performance in math. Regarding the moderating and mediating effects, the hypothesized moderating and mediating effects of the two types of interest were not statistically significant. The theoretical implications and limitations of the study were discussed and suggestions for future studies were made, especially with respect to linking the relative importance of the main effects of the variables found in this study to the different domain structures of the art and math domains.^

Degree

Ph.D.

Advisors

Sidney M. Moon, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Education, Educational Psychology

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