Explicit Instructions to Be Creative and Original: A Comparison of Strategies and Criteria as Targets With Three Types of Divergent Thinking Tests

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Korean Journal of Thinking & Problem Solving





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Explicit instructions are often used to enhance performance on tests of divergent thinking. Previous research has not, however, compared explicit instructions which focus on criteria with those that focus on tactics. It is one thing to be instructed to "be original" (one possible criterion) and quite another to be given procedures to find original ideas (e.g., "think of things that will be thought of by no one else"). The research reported in the present article was designed with that in mind. In addition to comparing the different types of instructions, it also compared college-students (N = 211) who received instructions which varied in the degree of explicitness of the applicable strategy. Regression analyses indicated that the procedural instructions had a more robust impact on divergent thinking than did the conceptual instructions. This difference was especially clear when the divergent thinking tests were scored for ideational originality. Implications for the educational setting and for established group techniques (e.g., brainstorming)are explored.