Article: Divergent thinking decreases with schooling
Topic: creativeity, divergent thinkin
This study conducted by Hee Kim analyses how creative thinking has declined in the past 20 years, despite contemporaneous increases in IQ and Scholastic Assessment Tests scores. Using the TTCT as a measure of creative or divergent thinking, Kim compared mean results from 1990 through 2008 in children and adults, and concluded that creative thinking has not only decreased in this time period but also decreases systematically with age. Younger children’s (kindergartners through sixth graders) are less open-minded and curious and more apt to produce unique responses than their peers were 20 years ago, and these traits diminish as they grow older. She also shows that they are becoming less capable of critical thinking processes of synthesis and organization and of capturing the essence of problems, being more narrow-minded and less intellectually curious. This source provides data for many insights into processes society is currently undergoing. Kim’s conclusions are solid indications of a phenomena which is clearly real and yet often overseen. By collecting data from of more than 250.000 subjects and several different years, her conclusions are extremely reliable and valid. Moreover, her study’s design is very strong by employing a complex instrument to measure different kinds of capacities and their subscales: the TTCT. This enables for a more holistic interpretation of how and what specific skills are changing through and within generations. She also provides hypothesis based on previous studies of what might be causing this decrease, such as children having less free interrupted time, the excessive use of electronics and increase of drilling and rote learning in schools in detriment to creative content areas and collaboration in schools. Overall, Kim’s study provided the evidence that something in the way we are raising children is causing them to gain certain abilities in detriment to others, given that SAT scores are raising while divergent thinking is declining. Moreover, her suggestion that creativity is less encouraged by schools resonates with what I suspected: if divergent, critical and creative thinking are declining proportionally with academic performance increases, then our evaluation system values and enforces a type of achievement that measures success in a very limited and simplistic way.