Off-campus UNL users: To download campus access dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your NU ID and password. When you are done browsing please remember to return to this page and log out.

Non-UNL users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this dissertation through interlibrary loan.

Varieties of creativity: Investigating the domain -specificity of creativity in young children

Ki-Soon Han, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


One of the most controversial issues in contemporary research of creativity, whether a person's creativity is domain-specific or domain-general, was investigated with 109 second grade children in the present study. The purposes of this study were to empirically examine (1) the relationships among children's creative performances in three domains, and (2) the relationships between children's general creative thinking skills and their creative performances in three domains. Children's creative performances in three domains (language, art, and math) were assessed by story-telling, collage making, and math problem creating tasks, and judged by nine expert judges. Children's general creative thinking skills were measured by two divergent thinking tests, the Wallach-Kogan Creativity Test and the Real-World Divergent Thinking Test. In addition, this study also examined whether (3) children's creative performances and their associations are stronger among high divergent thinkers than low divergent thinkers, (4) a real-world divergent thinking test is more predictive of creative performances than a standardized divergent thinking test, and (5) problem-finding abilities on both divergent thinking tests are more predictive of creative performances than problem-solving abilities. ^ The findings of this study support the position that creative ability in young children is rather (but not absolutely) domain-specific. Children exhibited a range of creative ability across different domains rather than a uniform creative ability in diverse domains, indicating there is considerable intra-individual variation in creative ability by domain. Divergent thinking measures did not have great power in predicting creative performance in at least two of three, if not all, domains assessed in the study. It is implied from the study that it is not possible to reliably predict a child's creative ability in one domain based on his/her creative ability in other domains or his/her overall divergent thinking ability. The results of the study also have raised a question about the usefulness of the real-world divergent thinking test and problem-finding ability in predicting creative performances in young children. ^ This study suggests that a domain-specific view of creativity offers a more useful and constructive knowledge about a child's creative strengths than a domain-general view which mostly considers divergent thinking as a general and domain-transcending capacity of creativity. Implication of the study in connection with the identification and educational practices for gifted education program is discussed. ^

Subject Area

Education, Early Childhood|Education, Educational Psychology|Education, Special

Recommended Citation

Han, Ki-Soon, "Varieties of creativity: Investigating the domain -specificity of creativity in young children" (2000). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI9973594.