The Relationship among Creative, Critical Thinking and Thinking Styles in Taiwan High School Students

Article excerpt

The study investigated the relationships among demographic variables (class grades, school types, major field, parent's education level, etc.), psychological type, thinking style, critical thinking, and creative thinking in senior high school students. The study explored the extent to which students' inclinations and perceived competence to engage in creative thought, as well as their ability to think critically, can be predicted by one aspect of their personality and their psychological preferences. 1119 male senior high school students (grades 10 and 11) participated in the present study. The Thinking Styles Inventory, Chopsticks Creativity Test, Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator were administered to the participants.

The present study, anchored in Sternberg's theory of mental self-government and Jung's theory of personality types, serves to lend partial support to the evidence of the relationships of thinking styles to personality types. The present findings show the scales across the TSI and MBTI inventories are, in general, related in predictable ways.

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It is widely recognized that the development of creative and critical thinking can be beneficial for both the individual student and society (Sternberg & Lubart, 1995). However, a range of views regarding the relationship between the two kinds of thinking exists in the literature. One of the most influential conceptions of critical thinking is proposed by Robert Ennis (1985). He defines critical thinking as "reasonable reflective thinking that is focused on deciding what to believe or do," and he details numerous proficiencies, tendencies, and dispositions that constitute such reasonable reflective thinking. Creative thinking is associated with certain personal characteristics, such as flexibility and fluency. Some view the two kinds of thinking as being opposed to one another (Torch, 1993), others acknowledge complementary functioning (Bleedorn, 1993; Menssen, 1993), and it is also argued that there is a problem in attempting to distinguish two separate kinds of thinking. It is suggested simply that the focus should be on good thinking in the context of the rules, methods and criteria of specific domains (Bailin, 1993). For example, a number of researchers emphasize that critical thinking involves not only logical, but also creative (intuitive) aspects (Meyers, 1986; Brookfield, 1987; Garrison, 1991; Paul, 1993). Given this controversy, the study investigated the relationship between the two, namely whether a certain measurements of creativity are associated with specific measurements of critical thinking.

Sternberg and Lubart (1995) contend that thinking styles are one of the six major resources that give rise to creativity. Sternberg (1988a, 1988b, 1994, 1997) proposed a theory of mental self-government that defines intellectual styles as an interface between intelligence and personality. Analogous to the three branches of the U.S. government, the theory postulates 13 thinking styles that fall along five dimensions of mental self-government: function, form, level, scope, and leaning. Sternberg emphasized the five dimensions and 13 thinking styles, though not exhaustive; represent important stylistic aspects of intellectual functioning. The first dimension is the function of the mental self-government, including the legislative, executive and judicial thinking styles. The legislative function is concerned with formulating ideas and creating rules. The executive function is concerned with carrying out plans and implementing rules initiated by others. The judicial function mainly involves comparing and evaluating ideas, rules, and procedures. The second dimension, the form of mental self-government, concerns various styles of goal-setting and self-management behaviors, such as prioritizing (Hierarchic), pursuing goals single-mindedly (Monarchic), having multiple goal pursuits (Oligarchic), and taking a random approach to goals and problems (Anarchic). …