Examining Patterns of Specificity, Generality, and Interindividual Differences in Preschoolers’ Creativity




Cieslik, Violet

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Creativity is a multifaceted construct that develops in a variety of different modalities. Previous research suggested that creativity is a domain-specific skill in school children and adults; however, the structure of creativity in preschoolers and whether it is domain-specific or domain-general is unclear. This study had three main goals, (1) to examine the overall structure of creativity, (2) determine whether preschool creativity is domain-specific or domain-general, and (3) address associations between preschoolers’ leisure time activities (i.e., screen time and play), preschool environment, and creative ability. Eighty-three preschoolers between the ages of four and five years (Mage 4.40 years) participated in this study. Creativity was measured with four performance-based measures: Torrance Test of Creative Thinking – Figural (TTCT-F), the Torrance Thinking Creatively in Action and Movement (TACM), the Alternative Use Task (AUT), and the Ball and Jar Task. Leisure activity was measured with an online parental questionnaire that included the SCREENS-Q (Klakk et al., 2020) and the Time Diary: Daily Activities Questionnaire (DAQ; Lehrer et al., 2014). Preschool environment was measured with the number of structured daily activities in the preschool schedule. Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) findings revealed four unique domains of creativity (verbal, non-verbal, motor/explorative, and figural) that were not correlated with each other, suggesting that preschool creativity is a domain-specific skill. Higher amounts of structured daily activities within the preschool environment were associated with lower scores of non-verbal creativity. These results shed light on the structure and validity of behavioural measures of creativity and contribute to the conceptualization and assessment of creativity in early childhood. Findings also reveal the importance of unstructured environments in preschool creativity.



child development, creativity, psychology