The Role of Gender in the Development of Divergent Thinking in Early Childhood
Langen, J. de
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Previous research offers little insight into gender differences in the development of divergent thinking (DT) in early childhood. The present longitudinal study addressed this subject. Participants, aged 3.92 to 5.00 years at the start of the study, were tested at two measurements, six months apart. They completed the figural version of the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking as well as the Alternative Uses test, measuring figural DT and verbal DT, respectively. Figural DT was scored on fluency, originality, and elaboration, while verbal DT was scored on fluency and originality. Results show that girls scored significantly higher on figural elaboration than boys at the first measurement, while there were no gender differences for the other variables, or at the second measurement. Furthermore, there was an improvement over time for scores of figural fluency, figural elaboration, verbal fluency, and verbal originality. There were no significant gender differences in the way in which DT developed over time. The present study is a starting point for further research in this area and it offers guidelines for supporting children in their development of divergent thinking.