Health Essays - ADHD

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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)


A review of the literature from an historical perspective on creativity is the focus of Chapter two. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is discussed, and concept mapping is reviewed.


The review of literature about creativity includes the following related content areas: Theoretical background the conceptions of creativity, definition of creativity, characteristics of creative individuals, creativity and development, creativity development and age-level, creativity and education, nurturing creativity in the classroom, objectives of creativity enhancement, methods for enhancing creativity, creativity thinking models, and benefits of creativity enhancement.


The investigation of creativity has occupied the attention of many researchers over the years. Creativity had long been considered a phenomenon that had mystical or magical qualities. It was looked on as a gift or talent reserved for a few exceptional persons, while the label "genius was often reserved for inventors. The quest to understand creativity began with the ancient Greek philosophers. The quest continues today, and more recently psychologists, educators and others have joined that enticing, perplexing effort. However, the field of creativity has long been a neglected topic in psychological and educational research. Daniels (1981) pointed out that studies of creativity were rare before 1950. The early inquiries about creativity, however, tended to largely focus on philosophical speculation and anecdotal reports of creative mental functioning. The Osborn's now famous brainstorming exercises in 1938 were probably the most eminent early explorations into the topic of creativity. Creativity was of interest to empirical researchers due partly to Galton's study of heredity genius. (Daniels, 1981).

During the 1950's much happened in the field of creativity research. In his 1950 parting address as president of the American Psychological Association (APA), J. P. Guilford pointed out at the annual meeting that year, only 186 out of 121,000 entries in Psychological Abstracts dealt with creativity. Guilford's presidential address introduced the study of creativity to experimental psychology. Torrance and others helped advance the field further, and during the 1950's and 1960's an impressive amount of research was generated on creativity. By 1956, the number of entries in Psychological Abstracts on creativity had doubled, and a number of educational programs were developed and used which had as their goal the fostering of creative thinking (Barron and Harrington, 1981; Guilford, 1950; Torrance, 1977)

Now, because of research and writing the phenomenon of creativity is construed differently by various of theorists. Treffinger (1986) noted that there is no single, widely accepted theory of creativity. Rather there are a large number of ideas that are considered theories of creativity. Some of these ideas will be reviewed here. Davis (1998) considers creativity as a lifestyle, a personality trait, a way of perceiving the world, a way of living, and a way of growing. Like Davis, Yamamoto (1967) asserted that creativeness in its most basic form is necessary for living and growing in a threatening, complex world. To Gutman (1967) creativity is an increase in the power of the self to interact with the world. Taking Gutman's position further, Mooney (1967) and Taylor (1975) proposed that creative behavior is an intent to establish an organization of self and environment in accordance with the experiential background of the individual. Gutman (1967) contend that creativity is not a linear process of perception, cognition, and response, but a spiraling series of transformations in the human system. Their point of view considers creative functioning as the manifestation of fluctuations in unstable, self-organizing local systems that reorganize into patterns of higher order thinking and coherence.

The central point of the self-actualization approach is that the creative person also is a self-actualized person a fully functioning, mentally healthy, forward-growing human being who is using his or her talents to become what he or she is capable of becoming (Maslow, 1954, 1968; Rogers, 1962). The central theme of the proponents of this approach contend that the emergence of a creative product is the result of certain personality characteristics in relation to environments. According to this approach, to be creative is to keep an intimate relationship with nature or others (Moustakas, 1967, p.35); to transform one's self out of the chaos world (May, 1975, p.144); to produce a novel relational product, growing out of the uniqueness of the individual on the one hand, and the materials, events, or circumstances of his life on the other (Rogers, 1954, p.251); to come to pass of the fullest humanness or as the being of the person (Maslow, 1967, p.145).

Freud created a new, coherent theory called Psychoanalysis. Creativity was essential to Freud, both in his work and his personal life, yet his theory of creativity remains ambiguous. On the one hand, he concluded that art results from unconscious conflict becoming conscious through the creative process, but on the other hand, he admitted that psychoanalysis can not explain creativity. To Freud, creative productivity results from an unconscious conflict between the libido (sex instinct) and the superego (social conscience). Sexual energy is said to be rechanneled into acceptable forms like creative fantasies and products. Freud also noted that fantasy and creative thinking include a regression to more childlike modes of thought. In fact, to Freud creativity is a combining of and substitute for the free play of childhood (Eigen, 1983; Getzels and Jackson, 1962)

The Freudian view is a rather negative one-creativity is merely the outcome of an unconscious neurotic conflict. Unlike Freud, Kris (1952) asserted that creativity is in the service of the ego, not the id as Freud thought. Eigen (1983) suggests it is debatable whether Freud wrote a unified theory of creativity at all. Nevertheless, Freud's fertile thinking about the unconscious arousal of creativity stimulated efforts by such theoreticians as Jung.

Jung in 1966 (as stated in Solomon, 1985) postulated the collective unconscious, one that is common to all humanity. Both Freud and Jung placed the wellspring of creativity in the unconscious. However, Jung criticized Freud for his explanation of creativity as being due solely to the personal unconscious of the artist. Jung emphasized the collective unconscious is a universal storehouse of memories handed down from the past in the form of primordial images called archetypes (e. g., mother, wise old woman). Archetypes come in a variety of forms and may appear in dreams, drawings, or the imagination. The collective unconscious, never repressed, was a departure from the Freudian notion of the unconscious as repressed thoughts, feelings, and memories. According to Jung, the artist transforms material from the collective unconscious to produce an artistic creation.

There are many behavioristic views of creativity that focus upon different behavioristic analyses of creative thinking. Traditional learning theory emphasizes the reinforcement reward of correct responses and stimulus-stimulus associations. The approach is called behaviorism because the focus is on the visible behavior itself, rather than on the unseen mental events that control the behavior.

Skinner (1971) argued that we have no freedom since all of our behavior is controlled by those who dispense reinforcements and punishments. He adds that there is no such thing as creativity, freedom, or dignity.

Maltzman (1960) argued that we can increase original behavior simply by rewarding it. He reviewed his own research that showed that when original word associations were rewarded the frequency of original word associations increased. Another behavioristic view of creativity focuses on mental associations. Mental associations (for example, the word carrot might elicit rabbit) are assumed to be learned on a contiguity basis. Mednick and Andrews (1967) wrote that a highly creative person is one who possesses a large number of verbal and nonverbal mental associations that are available for recombination into creative ideas. A less creative person is one who can respond with just a few highly dominant mental associations.

The current theoretical trend, cognitive psychology, examines internal processes in learning, thinking, memory, and problem solving, unencumbered by a commitment to conditioning principles.

According to the Gestalt approach, creative thinking is the formation and alteration of Gestalts (mental patterns or forms) and not the mere associations or sum of the associations. Gestalt theorists (e.g., Wertheimer, 1982) argue that creativity is a much more complicated process than merely associating ideas in new and different ways; the whole of an idea always amounts to more than merely the sum of its parts. For example, greater paintings are made up of elements that are interrelated to the point that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts (Dacey, 1989, p.91). According to this approach, the major task of creativity involves the ability to break up a problem into parts and then to reorganize them in new, meaningful ways.

Gestalts theorists argue that creativity stems from both the innate tendency of human beings toward clear, whole understanding of what happens in reality and generalized schemas from past experiences (Wertheimer, 1982). One's past experience provides a basis for perceiving problems, retrieving needed information, restructuring the Gestalt, and adding to the general schema. Moreover, Gestalt theorists argue that creativity proceeds in a sequence of stages, which is explicated in the widely acknowledged Wallas's (1926) four-stage model. The four stages - which will be detailed later - are: preparation, incubation, illumination, and verification.

The potential theory established by Guilford is one of the most influential contemporary theories of creativity. The pivotal premise of this theory is that if one is equipped with a set of cognitive traits or potentials, which are hypothesized to be characteristics of creative persons, one is creative. Another assumption of this theory is that because of the appearance of different factors in different groups of people, creative abilities are not the same in different fields of creative endeavor. That is, inventors, writers, artists, and composers may have some same factors in common, but there is much room for variation in patterns of abilities (Guilford, 1950, p.451).

Although nonaptitudinal attributes for creativity (i.e., personality characteristics) are noted as necessary for creativity, Guilford (1984) said, the mental operation of divergent production is a key process in creative thinking (p.1). The mental operations - which will be detailed later - explicated as primary are: fluency, flexibility, originality, and elaboration. Guilford suggested that creative process occurs concurrently as an attendant feature of primary abilities.

Right-left brain theory of creativity relates to the special function of brain hemispheres. The concept of hemisphericity or laterality is the major theme proposed by brain theorists. By hemisphericity or laterality, the theorists refer to a mental phenomenon characterized by habitual activation of one or the other cerebral hemisphere regardless of the usual appropriateness of that hemisphere for task demands (Kats, 1983). Brain theorists (e.g., Bakan, 1969; Kinshbourne, 1972; Martindale et al., 1984) argue that the two qualities of creativity, originality and valuableness, occur in opposite sides of the brain. In other words, originality requires a dominant role of the right brain (divergent thinking) and valubleness involves the left brain (convergent thinking).

Moreover, this approach argues that during creative thinking, special emphasis is given to the right hemisphere because of superior creativity-related functions such as spatial perception, divergent thinking, synthetic thought, and imagistic and holistic processes (Katz, 1983; Reynolds and Torrance, 1978; Torrance, 1982). However, it is thought that both the right and left brain functions are eventually needed for maximizing creative processes relevant to creative output (Herrmann, 1981; Torrance and Rokenstein, 1987).

One might say that creativity is more a matter of values and personality than particular ways of deploying abilities, and more a matter of ways of deploying abilities than of having particular mental abilities. Of course, some repertoire of abilities is a necessary condition for creativity, but far from a sufficient condition (Sternberg and Williams, 1996).

Davis (1998) sees creativity as mysterious mental happenings. For him, much about creativity remains a mystery, although much is understood about creative people and the creative process. In other words, creativity sometimes either is inexplicable or just sort of happens. And when it happens in this way, it eludes human understanding.

To generalize, Philosophers have tackled the creativity puzzle by attempting to explain the creation of the world, exploring free will versus determination, and by describing the basic nature of creative experience. Psychologists concern themselves with hypothesizing in areas such as problem solving, cognitive functioning, and ways to nurture creative talent. Educator's interests lie in identifying creative talent, developing specialized teaching procedures to foster it, and experimenting to learn what role evaluation plays in encouraging or discouraging it. A unified theory of creativity will not be possible until psychologists, educators, and philosophers arrive at a common understanding.


As with other concepts in psychology and education, creativity is defined in many ways. Logically, any human activity may be looked at from four angles: the person who performs it, the thing which is done, the process of activity itself and the conditions which affect the above three divisions. According to Taylor (1964) and Torrance (1977) creative activity could be defined under the following headings:

1-  Creative Person.

2-  Creative Product.

3-  Creative Process.

4-  Environmental Influences.

Although it is difficult to look at subject such as creativity in a loose, detached way, the above presents an ideal format with which to become acquainted with it. Despite a somewhat divided approach, the unity of the object will be evident. The creative product is a production of the creative process, which is affected by creative abilities and other characteristics of a person. Similarly, the creative product is affected by environmental conditions, which also affect people and creative processes.

Creative Person:

In respect of the creative persons studies have investigated the characteristics and have presented many general forms of creative personality. Some researchers preferred to measure the creative personality by assessing motives, attitudes, tendencies and other characteristics which distinguished creative individuals (Barron, 1969 ; Barron and Harrington, 1981; MacKinnon, 1962). According to Taylor (1964) the common assumption is that all persons have some creative potential. This means an existence of individual differences in degree. On this basis, Lowenfeld (1960) distinguished between actual creativity and potential creativity. The first is that potential which is already developed and functioning, whereas the latter includes the total creative potential, both developed and undeveloped, within an individual. Taylor belief that all persons have some degree of potential to be creative in one or more ways (1964, p.8).

According to Barron, Torrance, and Welsh creativity can be studied by examining the common characteristics of persons who have achieved original, admirable outcomes. However, it is more difficult to measure the creativity of persons who have not produced anything noteable. Nevertheless, there is a broad agreement on some characteristics which will be discussed more fully in a later section. We could say here, in an attempt to paint a picture of the creative person, that he/she has the following general characteristics:

A - He/she is intelligent, although the relationship between creativity and intelligence is weak according to the findings of Guilford (1959) and some other studies. Although there must be a certain level of intelligence, the important matter is not the degree of intelligence, but the extent to which the creative person can use his/her intelligence in an effective way and can direct it towards aims which he/she wants to achieve. In addition, special abilities and skills related to the creative person's field were considered a necessary condition to achieve a high level of creativity.

B - The creative person has a certain level of psychological instability. Some psychologists relate creativity to mental health. At the same time, creative people have high and advanced mechanisms of self-control. Another widespread characteristic is a high level of feminine qualities. That means that a creative person, male or female, is tuned into his/her feelings and is intuitive. Also, the creative person tends to be open and ready to comprehend new experiences, because diversity and disorder entice him/her and excite his/her interest to arrange and order that which seems difficult. He/she does so, not only because he/she is open to new experiences, but also because of his/her nature and disposition. The creative person appears to have a clear preference for first-hand understanding and takes it seriously, even if it does not assume the common form. He/she enjoys, in other words, an ability to test the actual and the imaginary and attempts to bridge the gap between them. Apparently, on the other hand, the creative person's sensitivity and self-sufficiency make him/her self-absorbed rather than sociable.

C - The creative person does not differ from colleagues in general interests but he/she is less concerned with details or facts for their own sake. He/she tries to interpret them. He/she is the distinguished by mental flexibility, self-expression, and the ability to connect his/her ideas. Because of his/her interest in meanings and the result of details, the creative person is also interested in aesthetics, he/she is not concerned merely to solve a problem, but looks for a beautiful and elegant solution. He/she seeks beauty and magnificence as much as facts. However, although the creative person tends to be independent in thinking and behaviour, he/she does not tend to differ from others simply for difference's sake, so he/she is likely to be traditional in matters outside his/her creative field. (Barron, 1969; Barron and Welsh, 1952; Barron and Harrington, 1981; Hussain and Kumar, 1991; Torrance, 1962, 1977; Welsh, 1975; and Zavalishina, 1991).

Nevertheless, we must acknowledge that the existence of the above characteristics does not necessarily guarantee existence of creativity.

Creative Product:

Looking at the second element of creativity, the creative product, defining what is or is not a creative product is a difficult matter, because creative products of undisputed uniqueness and distinction are few. In addition, they often appear accidentally in the shape of discoveries or inventions, so that the environment may appear more responsible for them than the individual.

However, when creativity is defined as a product, it is embodied in an invention, a scientific theory, an improved product, a literary work, a new design, or the like. Thus, creativity as a product is defined as the contribution of original ideas, a different point of view, or a new way of looking at problems.

Nevertheless, even where environmental conditions are equal, large differences can be noticed in creative products. This mean creativity should be considered as a continuous or gradual ability which is found in all people in various levels, and not a unique ability which exists in some individuals but not in others. Apparently, the development of this concept helped in the construction of creative measures in the second half of the last century (Butcher, 1968; Freeman, et al., 1975; and Torrance, 1962, 1965).

That concept, however, does not prevent a creative product being defined in the light of a group of distinguishing characteristics. These latter are:

1- The creative product should be original, new or unprecedented to a certain degree. On the other hand, this originality and newness is relative. A product may be considered original and new by some people but not by others.

Boden (1994) suggested that there are two categories of creativity. The first one is psychological which he called (P-creativity), and the second is historical (H-creativity). He stated:

An idea is P-creative if the person in whose mind it arises could not have had it before; it does not matter how many times other people have already had the same idea. By contrast, an idea is H-creative if it is P-creative and no-one else has ever had it before. P. 5

By Boden's definition all H-creative ideas are P-creative too. In addition, originality and newness are not restricted to products only but may also apply to processes or methods. Two subjects may independently produce the same creative product in different ways, while on the other hand, two subjects could arrive at two different new products by following known methods.

Therefore, we can define this aspect of the relationship between creative product and creative process in the light of originality and newness, theoretically in three axes:

A-   An original product and an original process which could be considered a high level of creativity.

B-   An original product and a non-original process.

C-   A non-original product and an original process.

2- The product should be adapted to and adequate for the actual situation. In other words, it should solve a certain problem, suit the conditions of a certain case or achieve a certain goal.

3- It should be distinguished by a certain charm. The creative product does not merely present the solution to a problem, but should have a quality of beauty and create a sense of elation and satisfaction. Its simple aspect hides its complication and the depth of its compound aspect hides its difficult detail.

4- It should be possible to assess, search for and confirm the creative product. The latter must actually exist, not just be something talked about. In other words, an idea can not be considered a creative product unless it has form (Taylor, 1964 and Taylor and Williams, 1966).

Lastly, we have to mention the general individual differences creative products have from one field to another. Some fields have been thought at certain times to require more creativity and some less, but attitudes have not necessarily remained constant. In fact, creativity should be expected generally in all human activities and is not limited to certain of endeavour (Taylor, 1964).

Later, there is a trend towards consideration of real-world problem-finding as predictive of creativity. This line may give the creative product new importance, in contrast to the former focus on the creative processes. In this respect, Okuda et al. (1991) reported that the most significant findings in their investigation were that the real-world problem-solving elicited scores that were more reliable and predictive of creative extracurricular activities. In addition, the best predictor of creative ability was the measure that combined both problem-finding and real-world tasks.

Creative Process:

Respecting the third element of creativity, the creative process, is defined as the nature, abilities, levels, and stages of creativity. According to Vernon (1964), Galton is considered the first researcher to examine the subject in his empirical study of heredity and genius. He attempt to use empirical methods in cognitive research. For instance, he attempted to determine whether thinking takes the form of words, mental pictures or any other form. He asked a number of individuals to think of their breakfast table as it appears in the morning, and then asked them to what extent their mental pictures were clear. He found a wide variation, some individuals had extremely vivid pictures while others could not picture anything.

Creativity may consider the process of sensing problems or gaps in information, forming ideas or hypotheses, and communicating the results. Thus, this process may lead to any one of many kinds of products, verbal and nonverbal, concrete or formal. (Torrance, 1963).

Torrance (1962, 1977) considered problem solving as a kind of creative thinking to the extent that one or more of the following conditions are met:

1-  When thinking production is new and valuable.

2-  When thinking requires change or rejuction of previously accepted ideas.

3-  When thinking happens accidently.

4-  When thinking requires intensive stimulation, deep and persistence, and continues for a long time, whether it is sustained or broken.

5-  When the problem is obscure and unlimited such that formulation of the problem itself becomes a part of the task.

Guilford, is the best known researcher exploring the relationship between intelligence and creativity. He and his assistants made an important contribution to theories of intellectual ability. He highlighted the intellectual aspects of creativity with his model of the Structure of Intellect or Three-Way Dimentions Theory of Mind Map. He proposed that there are at least 120 unique intellectual abilities. Each ability is a combination of content, an operation, and a product. Content means: in which field does the mind work? Operation indicates: what does the mind do? Product explains: what does the mind use? Or how does mind act with content? Guilford divided content into four kinds:

1-    Figural content: this kind of content includes information which has concrete sensory characteristics. These figures or sensory perceptions may be optic, acoustic, tactile or sensori-motor.

2-    Symbolic content: this is a kind of abstract information, in which meaning does not play a big role, for example, letters, numbers or syllables.

3-    Semantic content: this is the understanding of meanings in the abstract. This kind of content is concerned with verbal meanings.

4-    Behavioural content: this kind of information is concerned with social perceptions. It relates to understanding of the behaviour of others, their feelings, attitudes, reactions and so on. Therefore, this part may be a content of social intelligence.

Operations include five groups of abilities:

1-         Cognitive thinking operations: these operations are concerned with knowing and understanding required information. This knowledge may take the form of discovering information by deduction, rediscovering it by induction or recognizing it by scientific methods. The abilities of these operations are concerned with fields such as mutilated words, speed closure, perceptual relations, shape's series and the like.

2-         Memory operations: this kind of operations is concerned with storing and remembering. The related abilities may distribute across different operations of memory, such as storage system, sensory memory, short memory or long term memory.

3-         Convergent thinking operations: these operations relate to production of correct or certain information limited previously in the light of pre-specified instructions. These operations imply many kinds of thinking and include many abilities relating, in general, to perception of correlation, classification, mathematics and syllogism.

4-         Evaluative thinking operations: this sort of operations is concerned with determination whether available information is suitable, correct or agrees with any given evaluation criterion. It includes many abilities concerned with speed of perception, comparison, associated words, syllogism, logical evaluation and the like.

5-         Divergent thinking operation: This kind of operations relates to production of various kinds of information without previous limitation. These operations include many kinds of abilities such as ideational fluency, associated fluency, social action, lines, titles, social problems and the like.

The third axis which is productions divided into six kinds:

1-   Units production: a unit is the simplest element into which information of content may be analysed. For example, the unit of a sentence is a word; of a word, a letter; of numbers, a number and so on. The unit, in general, represents the characteristics of the object. In addition, it is distinguished by comparative independence. For instance, letters have independent existence, but this existence is not integrated, except in words, whereby letters obtain meaning.

2-   Classes Production: a class in a group of related units with shared characteristics. Class or category is the basis of classification. For example, words may be classified into plural and singular, or verb, noun and particle. Therefore, each of them is a class. In addition, classes themselves, such as sentences in language or formulae in mathematics.

3-   Relations production: relations are connections which relate units to each other, for example, relations of similarity, opposition comparison and association. Like classes, relations may also exist between classes, systems and relations themselves, for instance, relations in sentences of a paragraph or the whole article and relations in mathematical equation.

4-   Systems production: a system is a construction consisting of a group of interrelated and interacting units which combine to form a whole, for example, a journal article, poem, or tune.

5-   Transformations production: transformations are changes of information, whether in formulation, structure, consistence, characteristics, meaning or use. Transformations in figural content, include, for example, a quantitative or qualitative change, in the semantic content, a change in meaning, in the behavioural content, a change in aptitudes or emotional situation.

6-   Implications production: this kind of product is the expectations of the subject in the light of available information. Implications, in essence, depend on connection. Although connection logically is close to the relation of reason and effect, here it is used differently to imply probability from various levels of doubt and certainty.

Guilford supposed that the action of each certain operation with certain content by a certain product leads to a certain ability. On this basis, the expected abilities from Guilford's three-way dimention of mind model are 4 contents x 5 operations x 6 products = 120 abilities. Nevertheless, this number may increase if we consider branches of those abilities. He separated those abilities into two categories: convergent thinking and divergent thinking. Convergent thinking is that which can be probed by traditional intelligence is that which can be probed by traditional intelligence tests. In other words, it can be defined as that thinking which requires one correct solution to one problem. Divergent thinking, in contrast, requires many correct solutions to the one problem and is measured by the richness and excellence of ideas. Creative abilities fall under the heading of divergent thinking or as Guilford considered, creative thinking in reality is divergent thinking. However, seemingly, the opposite is incorrect, divergent thinking is not necessarily creative thinking (Guilford, 1967).

Later, Guilford (1988) made some changes in his model. The previous content element figural was divided into visual and auditory. Thus, contents became five elements. The other change was in operations. Memory was subdivided into memory retention and memory recording. Therefore, operations became six instead of five. This modification is considered the final one made by Guilford, who died in 1987. On the other hand, Bachelor and Michael reanalyzed the original data base of Guilford and his coworkers and afforded a replication of four of Guilford's creativity factors. Two divergent productions constructs of ideational fluency and word fluency, one construct representing sensitivity to problems, and another identified as redefinition or flexibility of closure typically involving transformations (Bachelor and Michael, 1991).

According to Torrance Divergence-producing abilities may be classified into four basic abilities: fluency, flexibility, originality and elaboration. Fluency means giving a stream of connected responses or divergent solutions to problems on the basis of a small amount of information. The fluency is assessed by the number of those responses.

Flexibility is the number of kinds of responses or divergent solutions to problems in cases where there is plenty of information. Flexibility is assessed by the number of categories into which those responses can be divided. In other words, fluency is assessed quantitatively and flexibility is assessed qualitatively.

Originality is the ability to produce something new, far, rare or unprecedented. Originality may be considered a standard of creation in general. Therefore, this ability may be assessed by the weight of originality which is defined by the degree of publicity or rarity of response among subject's answers. A widespread response is given a low rating, while a rare response is given a high rating and considered an original response.

Some researchers believed that there is some confusion effect between originality and fluency. Examinees who give more responses exhibit higher originality scores as a result of their fluency, not their originality. This confounding is revealed from many evidences:

1-  Intercorrelations among measures of fluency and originality have been extremely high.

2-  Factor-analytic studies have not shown separate fluency and originality factors.

3-  Multitrait-multimethod analysis have not supported the discriminant distinction between construct validity of fluency and originality. (Zarnegar et al., 1988)

Elaboration is considered one of the final steps in creative thinking. It means the ability to give more details about the object and view it from many angles. Elaboration is the ability to look in depth at an idea. In a sense, it may be seen as the opposite of fluency. It could be said that fluency is a horizontal ability and elaboration is a vertical ability. Therefore, this ability is measured quantitatively by the number of new details added to the original idea (Torrance, 1962, 1965).

In addition to these four main abilities, there are many subsidiary abilities, as explained by the model of Guilford, a general idea of which has been given above. This point will be focused with that aspect of the model which is concerned with creative abilities.

In this respect 23 actual abilities were discovered, out of 24 suggested ones, while one ability that concerned with divergent figural units, is an expected ability. In consideration that the main dimensions of Guilford's theory are: operations, productions, and contents; these abilities may be arranged on the basis of contents as follows:

1-     For figural content, there are 5 actual abilities and one expected ability. The actual abilities are: divergent figural units which include figural fluency, divergent figural classes including flexibility of optic classification, divergent figural systems including flexibility of optic shape systematizing, divergent figural transformations, including what is called adapted flexibility, and divergent figural implications, including fluency and elaboration of shape production.

2-     For symbolic content, there are 6 actual abilities: divergent symbolic units include verbal fluency, divergent symbolic classes include symbolic flexibility and elaboration, divergent symbolic relations include symbolic originality, divergent symbolic systems include symbolic originality and fluency, divergent symbolic transformations include symbolic originality, and divergent symbolic implications include symbolic fluency.

3-     For semantic content, there are 6 abilities: divergent semantic units which are called ideational fluency, divergent semantic classes, called semantic fluency, divergent semantic relations, called associated fluency, divergent semantic systems, called expressed fluency, divergent semantic transformations characterized by originality, and divergent semantic implications which are characterized by elaboration.

4-     For behavioural content, there are 6 abilities: divergent behavioural units involve social expression fluency, divergent behavioural classes involve behavioural flexibility, divergent behavioural relations involve social fluency and originality, divergent behavioural systems involve behavioural fluency and originality, divergent behavioural transformations involve verbal and figural originality and elaboration, and divergent behavioural implications involve fluency, originality and elaboration of social and personal problems (Guilford and Hoepfner, 1966; Hendricks, et al., 1969).

Taylor (1960, 1964) presented the idea of a division of creativity into levels, on the basis that creativity, in Taylor's opinion, dose not differ in kind, but in depth. Accordingly, creativity can be classified into five levels:

1-    Level of expressive creativity: this kind is considered the most basic and its existence is considered necessary to the appearance of all the other levels. It means spontaneous independent expression of ideas, regardless of originality, skills or type of product, as represented by the paintings of children.

2-    Level of productive creativity: this is a tendency towards limitation of spontaneous activity and towards control and improvement of performance in the light of specific rules. At this level, the individual tries to perfect his or her creative expression and avoid freedom in expression, preferring to conform to established rules.

3-    Level of inventive creativity: here, invention and discovery appear. Invention includes transfer from the previous controlled level toward the search for new ways of expression. It includes also flexibility of perception and treatment, with new and unusual relationships among elements of attitude or object. In this level, most inventions take place.

4-    Level of innovative creativity: this level only appears in a few people. It requires important change in the general bases and main principles of the field in art, science or literature, as for example, the modification of theories of the solar system presented by Copernicus. We can say here that the ability of fluency may have an active and wide effect, as does the ability of elaboration. This is because major change in those fields or others requires the ability to look at a problem from different angles and the ability to create, add or cancel elements, as appropriate.

5-    Level of emergent creativity: this requires creation or emanation of new theory with all its relations, e.g. Al-khuarizmi's development of Algebra, Aristotle's of Logical Science, Newton's theory of gravity and Picasso's new approach to art. This level requires effective ability to view a subject deeply and in detail. In other words, the ability of elaboration may be required more than other abilities, at this level.

Seemingly, Taylor here did not mean to ignore individual differences but to explain that his suggested levels are concerned with creative product or, it may be said, with creativity as a content, not with creativity as a group of abilities. It can be seen that his classification is based upon the standard of products more than the creative process itself, although the classification was put forward as based on the depth of creative process. Naturally, classification on the basis of creative product, as a separate entity which can be dealt with directly, is more exact and specific than dependence on creative process because mental progress is difficult to identify and define specifically (Taylor, 1975).

Creativity as an intellectual activity and at the same time a complex operation may be seen as occurring in stages. Wallas (1926) saw creativity as passing through many stages in a regular pattern. Those stages were known as the famous four stages of creative thinking:

1-   The stage of preparation: in this stage the creative person conducts some procedures to recognize a problem and attempts some solutions. He or she faced by many difficulties which cause him or her tension and suffering. Frequency of failure to reach a solution makes him or her confront two choices: to continue his or her search, or to stop. If his or her motivation is strong enough, he or she will continue, and in this case he or she will move to the second stage. Apparently, this stage is characterized by a state of trial-and-error in learning. Therefore, the experience of the subject is expected to play a great role in his or her actions at this stage.

2-   The stage of incubation: this means the existence of an idea about a solution, which, however, is not yet clear. The subject at this stage stops any apparent activity toward solution of the problem, but at the same time, his or her mind is engaged with it. Therefore, this stage is known also as the stage of fermentation of ideas. So this stage is distinguished by scattering of attention and lack of concentration upon one subject.

3-   The stage of illumination: here, the subject is more active. He or she tries to fix the elements which are most relevant to the problem. It seems that one here attempts to reformulate ideas, or to formulate new ones.

4-   The stage of verification: in this stage, the subject applies the new form or the new vision to the problem, to confirm it. Here also, some modification may occur to ideas reached in the previous stage.

The above stages do not necessarily occur regularly. In some situations, they may appear in a different order, or combined into tow or three stages. This will depend on the abilities of the subject, his or her perception of affairs, his or her own way of thinking and other factors related to his or her personal characteristics, attitude to learning and environmental influences (Taylor, 1964; and Wallas, 1926).

Environmental Influences:

The fourth element of creativity mentioned earlier is the matter of environmental influences. Creativity does not occur in a vacuum. On this basis, when creativity is viewed as a result of the interaction of environmental conditions and individual capacities, it may then be considered as a successful step into the unknown, getting off the main track, breaking out of a mold or rut, being open to experience and permitting one thing to lead to another recombining ideas or seeing new relationships among ideas. (Torrance and Goff, 1989)

This view implies that many factors exist which may support or retard creativity. These factors could be divided into three categories:

1-  Factors related to the social and cultural environment: Creativity, as interpreted by social and cultural anthropologists, is an original transaction between an organism and its environment, and for most human beings the environment is the culture in which they find themselves embedded (Fabun, 1968).

Torrance believes that the way creative abilities develop and function is strongly influenced by the manner in which the environment responds to a person's creative needs. In other words, the development of creativity may be related to continuities and discontinuities in the particular culture (Torrance, 1962).

Mar'i (1976) delineated eight assumptions concerning creativity in its societal and cultural contexts. The first assumption deals with the fact that society provides a framework or a number of fields into which the creativity of individuals can and should be channeled. These fields vary from one culture to another and from one historical period to another, and both traditional and modern societies maintain a framework for creative products. The framework offered by a modern society is wide and flexible and provides many avenues into which creative talents can be directed. The traditional society provides a very small and rigidly defined framework for the creativity of its members.

The second assumption is related to the way society sets up values and criteria by which creative products are judged and evaluated. Mar'i states four basic categories of criteria, two of which seem to belong to the essence of the product and the other two to its functions and uses. The two criteria of the creative product are: it most be both original and correct in order to be accepted. In terms of function, a product must be both useful and practical and possess artistic quality.

The third assumption asserts that the more complex the society is, the more complicated is the process of evaluating creative products. Mar'i divided the evaluation process into three domains: personal, introductory, and public. On the personal level, the creative person subjectively judges the completed product by whatever criteria are available to him or her and at the same time applicable to the product. On the introductory level, the completed product passes through a critical evaluation before it is introduced to the public for use and/or enjoyment. Finally, the completed product is made available to the public in the public phase of evaluation.

The fourth assumption focuses on the role of rewards in creativity. The assumption is that a society needs to provide sufficient rewards for the creative person to encourage the expression of and elaboration on creative ideas. The lack of rewards has an inhibiting effect on creativity.

A fifth assumption by Mar'i is associated with the fact that opportunities for creative expression are not equally distributed within a society. Mar'i asserts that a society often discriminates against certain of its subcultures or classes by encouraging members of only some subgroups to be creative producers. Women, for example, usually have fewer opportunities to express their creativity than do men. Persons of low social status are also at a disadvantage.

The sixth assumption argues that assurance of safety for both the individual and society is a necessary condition if creativity is to be encouraged, expressed, and recognized. When the safety of society and the individual's creativity complement each other, an optimal condition for creativity exists. However, when the individual's creativity and society's safety are in conflict, the creative product either is not created in the first place, or else it is not integrated into the exisiting culture.

Mar'i seventh assumption states that creativity is an extra mental activity. In other words, in both traditional and modern societies, creativity is not necessary for merely living at an elementary level. Creativity is considered to be at a high level - maybe the highest - in the self-actualization process that extends over the life-span. The notion of self-actualization implies a hierarchical order of needs ranging from the basic (biological) ones to the extra (or spiritual) ones.

The eighth and final assumption asserts that the type of socialization to which an individual has been exposed determines to a large extent a person's creative performance, both quantitatively and qualitatively. Socialization is the basic means of culturally influencing the individual.

In conclusion, the extent to which creativity is encouraged, and the subsequent variety of creative products that are developed depends on the extent to which culture permits the development of both freedom within the individual and freedom between the individual and his or her environment, and on the extent to which the culture encourages diversity and tolerates the seeming ambiguity that such diversity suggests.

2-  Factors related to the family life: The family plays a major role in engendering creativity in individuals. A nurtureant environment at home is one that gives a free reign and a ready response to the explorations of the child (Freeman et al., 1975). A culture stifles creativity to the extent that its parent-child relationships and child-rearing techniques result in the setting up of rigid boundaries in the inner personal regions. Techniques that result in excessive repression or guilt restrict freedom and interfere with the process of hypothesis formation (Stein, 1953).

MacKinnon (1975) ran a study of the personal biographies of highly creative adults. He found early internal experiences were common among them. In addition, they had experienced shame, wretchedness, or loneliness. They also had special abilities in their childhood which they enjoyed using, or they had encouragement from their parents who showed a strong interest in beautiful and intellectual objects. Moreover, those parents were effective and gave their children independence of thought.

Such experiences may be the reason for existence of some creative characteristics like introversion, rejection of repression and resistance. On the other hand, they may also shape tendencies towards independence, early maturity and resolution.

In contrast, some studies found that children belonging to families distinguished by love accompanied by strong relationships between parents and children have a great deal of originality, leadership, few friendships and little aggression towards self. Other studies found that mother's attitudes towards forgiveness, love and democracy related to significantly to creativity (Parsons, 1971).

3-  Factors related to the school: Schools are vital social institutions that significantly impact upon the development of creativity. School today affirms creation, development and improvement of creative thinking as main aims of the educational process. Torrance (1977) indicated that creativity may be rewarded and creative thinking thereby encouraged in more than one field.

Guilford (1959), Taylor and Barron (1963) mentioned the need to encourage student's intuitions to give them a chance to think divergently, to train a wide range of intellectual abilities and to increase motivation, to enhance the creative process. Therefore, we can say that the teacher is considered a major force in developing student's creativity.

On the other hand, this point conflicts with the findings of Getzels and Jackson (1962) study and that of Holland (1961) which affirmed that teachers prefer highly intelligent students, rather than highly creative students. So, for current school to achieve its aims of developing and improving creative thinking, it is necessary to look at the preparation of teachers, creating in them positive attitude to the creative characteristics of students and to creative learning.

More about education and creativity will be detailed in a later section, but now characteristics of creative individuals is the topic to which we turn next.


Personality is a major emphasis within the educational and psychological study of creativity. It is often subdivided into the study of motivation of creative behavior and the study of personality characteristics or life styles of creative individuals (Golann, 1963).

Barron listed the following characteristics of creative people: They are especially observant and value accurate observations; they are express half-truths by emphasizing the unusual in an observation; they see things as others do and as others do not; they are independent in their cognition; they are motivated to creative activity by self-preservation and also in the interests of human culture and its future; they are born with greater brain capacity; they are more vigorous, both physically and mentally; their universe is more complex; they have more contact with the world of the unconscious; they have broad and flexible awareness of themselves; and their self is strong enough to allow regression (Barron, 1969; Barron and Welsh, 1952).

Later descriptions of the creative person have yielded much the same listing of characteristics, put in different words and phrases. Kneller (1965) discussed nine traits of the creative persons: intelligence, awareness, fluency, flexibility, originality, skepticism, playfulness, self-confidence, and nonconformity. He noted that the creative person:

1-   Is above average in intelligence, but not necessarily at the top of the scale.

2-   Is usually more sensitive to the environment.

3-   Produces more ideas on a subject than the ordinary person, and tries a variety of approaches and often thinks up unusual uses for things.

4-   Produces unusual ideas, solves problems in unusual ways, and uses things or situations in an unusual manner.

5-   Elaborates on new and novel ideas or follows them up.

6-   Is more skeptical of accepted ideas and less suspicious of new ones, and is more persistent on tasks.

7-   Explores ideas for their own sake, toying with them to see where they will lead, and has a marked sense of humor.

8-   Has an inner confidence in the worth of his/her work.

9-   Is nonconformist but maintains a balance between group-centeredness and self-centeredness.

Wallach and Kogan (1965) used 10 measures of creativity based on assumptions derived from a learning theory approach on a sample of 151 children aged 10-11 years. They proposed four categories of characteristics, classified on the basis of their levels of creativity and intelligence:

1-  High creativity-low intelligence: their main characteristics are angry conflict with themselves and their school environment, feelings of unworthiness and inadequacy, and they are able to blossom cognitively.

2-  Low creativity-high intelligence: they are addicted to the school achievement; they strive continually for academic excellence because they perceive academic failure as catastrophic.

3-  High creativity-high intelligence: they can exercise within themselves both control and freedom. They have both adultlike and childlike behaviours.

4-  Low creativity-low intelligence: they engage in various defensive manoeuvres sach as intensive social activity or passivity or psychosomatic symptoms.

Motivational and personality characteristics are reflected in the 12 personality characteristics of the creative individual gleaned by Davis from the existing literature on creativity. He listed the following characteristics of creative people: aware of their own creativeness; original; independent; risk taking; energetic; curious, sense of humor; attracted to complexity of novelty; artistic; open-minded; needs for privacy, alone time; and perceptive. See Davis (1998) for a detailed description of the 12 characteristics.

Finally, let us draw attention to that there are many listings of characteristics of the creative person, most of which are similar, and not all of these listings will apply to all creative persons owing to the existence of numerous forms of creativity and creative individuals.


Although Cognitive development is not identical for all and it is influenced by a large number of biological, social, and cultural factors; theories of cognitive development are put forward to explain the existence and development of various intellectual activities and characteristics. For example, creativity may depend on the development of imagination, abstraction, logical thinking or on the acquisition of particular concepts during adolescence.

In the early 1920s very little was known about children's intellective processes. In fact, to the extent that this topic was even considered, most researchers regarded the child as a little adult who perhaps knew less than an adult but reasoned in essentially the same way.

Piaget provided the most crucial information that we have about what children know, how they come to their knowledge, what they are likely to be able to learn, and what is completely beyond their grasp at various stages of development. (Gardner, 1982, P.7)

Piaget's theory is based on the key concepts of adaptation, assimilation, accommodation, stages, operations, and equilibration. These concepts, which provided the framework for Piaget's focus on the child's abilities to reason, to understand and to perceive different relationships around him/her, will be summarized in this section.

In the Piagetian view, cognitive development depends on an operation of adaptation among environmental circumstances and conditions on the one hand and the needs, motivations and aptitudes of the individual on the other. Adaptation includes two processes: assimilation, when the intellect deals with the common, and accommodation, when it is required to deal with something new.

Assimilation is the process of using or transforming the environment so that it can be placed in preexisting cognitive structure.

Accommodation is the process of changing cognitive structure in order to accept something from the environment.

Accommodation is achieved by means of three operations: modification of former strategies, creation of new ones, and incorporation or organization of many operations at once.

These processes of adaptation lead to operations which form a web of relationships. Operations are distinguished by reversibility, which is the ability to think in the opposite direction, and integration, which confirms their association into a complete whole.

The opposition and integration of different sides of operations will lead, in turn, to case of equilibration, which refers to the internal situation of the individual, and conservation, which refers to external circumstances.

Conservation includes three aspects: qualitative identity which means perception that changes in features of an object do not change its identity; quantitative identity, which means knowing that changes a shape do not change the amount or mass; and quantitative equivalence, which means knowing that changes in shape of one of two equal objects do not change their equivalence.

On the basis of the concept of operations, Piaget (1953) identified four main stages in the development of children's cognitive structure:

1. Stage of Sensorimotor Thinking (birth to two years): the infant acquires simple skills and accommodations of a sensorimotor kind through trial and error learning. In addition, the infant intitially relies on innate reflexes, and by learning to modify them becomes more able to cope with his/her environment. During this period The infant is egocentric and when he/she learns to speak, he/she invents new types of behaviour and his/her thinking changes towards internal mental assimilations, but they are still related to special or personal situations. By the end of this period, the infant can represent objects and events mentally (sometimes called object permanence). For example, if a toy placed under a blanket, the infant who has achieved the object permanence phase knows that the toy is under the blanket and can actively seek it, but before the object permanence phase the infant behaves as if the toy had disappeared.

2. Stage of Preoperations (two to seven years): children continue to be egocentric in this stage, the child views and understands the world from his/her own perspective, so he/she finds it difficult to put himself/herself into the place of other people to take their viewpoints and to understand alternative views.

The child in the earlier period of this stage still thinks in a sensory way, but at the same time, absolute thinking begins to appear. For example, the child can perceive the relationship between three boxes of different sizes and identify which is the largest, but only rarely can children recognize the relationship if the question is formed in writing like this: if A is larger than B and B is larger than C, which is the largest of them? This is due, not only to the kind of thinking taking place, but also to the relationship between thinking and language.

Language not only allows us to communicate with one another, but also it provides a system of responses that facilitates our thinking. Dealing with language is an important characteristic of this stage. Dealing with language means using and understanding symbolic shapes: letters, words and numbers. This recognition and its relation with thinking and other mental operations presents many difficulties to the child, which is why we find that children often talk aloud when they are solving their problems. This behaviour indicates the incomplete assimilation of language and the inability to incorporate thought with language.

In this stage the ability of imagination develops and expresses itself in two aspects: Interest in telling and hearing stories, especially imaginative stories; and using imagination in playing, for example, playing with a stick as a horse and the like.

Development of concepts depends on the ability of classification. Although children of this stage are able to sort things according to shape, color, size or some other characteristics, they face some problems in recognizing the relationships between categories. For instance, if these children are given a group of various toy animals: cows, horses and cats, they can classify each kind separately, but if asked, Are there more cats or animals? they are confused. Children failure relates to their inability to perceive elements which are included in two categories at the same time. They can not visualize that a cat is both cat and animal at once. So, apparently, classification in this stage depends on one feature only, even where many considerations apply.

3. Stage of Concrete Operations (seven to eleven years): According to Sutherland (1992) the concept of operational thinking is the area in which most of Piaget's work took place. This stage includes the broad outlines of cognitive development, and so it is considered the most important stage. It should be noted that this stage is attained during the primary school period, with which this study is concerned, therefore it will be discussed in detailed.

Concrete operations are a collection of cognitive skills which enable the child to understand a number of relationships as he/she deals with objects. According to Bourne et al (1979), concrete operations are concerned with attributes of objects, organizing things into separate groupings on the basis of those attributes and dealing with them in a more systematic fashion. Nevertheless, the word concrete means that the child's thinking is still sensori-motor, though at a higher level. In other words, the child cannot think of relationships between objects in the abstract, but needs to deal with actual objects to understand those relationships. Ideas cannot be manipulated purely mentally until the child reaches the stage of formal operations.