While most research of creative thinking abilities has focused on hearing children, significant factors that may contribute to the creative thinking of deaf children are in need of further investigation. Investigating creativity in disabled individuals and the factors that contribute to it in disabled populations is very important. In general, children who are deaf or hard of hearing receive fewer special programs based on their abilities than programs based on disabilities (Laughton, 1988). In schools for deaf children, educational objectives and goals tend to focus on remediation or "normalization" related to the different aspects of their disability. Consequently, deaf children have been less likely than their hearing peers to be screened, identified, and served by special programs to assess and develop their creativity (Whitmore & Maker, 1985). Failure to identify and serve deaf children with creative thinking abilities is an indictment against the society and a problem that should not be tolerated (Johnson, Karnes, & Carr, 1997).
There are many factors that contribute to one's creativity. Feldman (1999) reported that an adequate analysis of creativity involves at least six dimensions: cognitive processes, social/emotional processes, family aspects, education and preparation, characteristics of the domain and field, and historical forces and events.
There are many cognitive abilities that relate to creative thinking abilities. The current research focuses on reasoning abilities for two reasons. First, there are some standardized nonverbal instruments to assess reasoning abilities. The instructions of these instruments can be delivered by using sign language and this provides valid assessment of the reasoning abilities of deaf children. Second, intervention programs to develop reasoning abilities could provide stable improvements in this area for deaf children.
The goal of the research was to investigate the relation between reasoning abilities and creative thinking abilities by using nonverbal instruments.
Creativity and Cognition
Guilford (1950) considered convergent and divergent thinking operations as major components of creative thinking. He explained that the two operations require that the thinker produce information when given other information. Divergent thinking includes the abilities that are most significant in creative thinking and invention.
According to Guilford (1967), commonly used intelligence tests measure convergent forms of thinking. However, creativity involves divergent thought processes, which account for 30 of the 150 factors of intelligence described by the structure of intellect model. Guilford was able to procedurally identify over 100 out of 150 factors through factor analysis.
Within the creative cognition approach, many types of creative behavior are characterized as instances of conceptual expansion that push the boundaries of a conceptual domain by envisioning and bringing to fruition novel exemplars of such domains (Ward, Saunders, & Dodds, 1999). For example, when a composer writes a new symphony, or a student draws a unique picture, their creative products can be seen as instances of conceptual expansions.
Because the products of many creative persons are outgrowths of the concepts that have come before, they can be expected to share some important properties with previous exemplars of those concepts (Basala, 1988; Friedal & Israel, 1986; Perkins, 1988; Rothenberg, 1979; Weisberg, 1986).
The creative cognition approach tends to concentrate much attention on what is old or familiar within each individual to understand the dimensions and properties of the new creative products (Ward, 1994, 1995). So, by examining what creative new ideas have in common with their predecessors, the creative cognition approach can provide insights into the way in which individuals use their existing …