Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Assessing a Chinese Version of the Runco Ideational Behavior Scale

Academic journal article Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal

Assessing a Chinese Version of the Runco Ideational Behavior Scale

Article excerpt

In the realm of cognitive psychology, both what is posited in pure theory and findings in empirical research lend support to the notion that divergent thinking is very closely related to creative thinking (Cheung, Lau, Chan, & Wu, 2004; Runco, Dow, & Smith, 2006). The concept of divergent thinking-as distinct from convergent thinking, which is often viewed as a criterion of intelligence- was first proposed by Guilford (1950). Guilford speculated that divergent thinking can serve as an important indicator of creative thinking and, based on this proposition, developed creativity tests that are comparable to convergent-thinking-based intelligence tests. Several creativity researchers have questioned the framework of divergent thinking (e.g., Cropley, 2000); but as Runco (1993, p. 223) stated, "a careful reading of the literature suggests that the dismissal of divergent thinking is premature." The importance of ideation and divergent thinking to understanding of creativity should not be underestimated (Runco, 2007). In fact, findings in a number of studies have confirmed that tests of divergent thinking are useful indicators of people's potential for creative thinking (e.g., Plucker, 1999; Runco, Millar, Acar, & Cramond, 2010). Additionally, tests of divergent thinking are often considered to be tools that are useful for identifying gifted children (Lemons, 2011). In short, divergent thinking is a useful estimate of creative potential.

In most tests of divergent thinking the focus is on fluency, originality, and flexibility (Kim, 2011). Through the lens of the scoring system of divergent-thinking tests, individuals are compared according to the quality and quantity of the ideas or solutions they generate. More centrally, fluency is defined as the frequency of ideas; originality is defined as how unique ideas are produced within the sample of individuals; and flexibility is treated as how responses are located in terms of category (Kim, 2006). Put another way, fluency represents productivity, originality indicates uniqueness of the ideas, and flexibility indicates unique ideas from different perspectives (Runco et al., 2011). Among these three variables, fluency has arguably been given disproportionate attention. Runco and other scholars (Plucker, Runco, & Lim, 2006; Runco & Acar, 2012) suggest that the behavior of ideation, consisting of the use of ideas and the ability to generate them, is at the heart of divergent thinking.

Runco and Okuda (1991) found that originality and flexibility scores could be enhanced by explicit instructions. In practice, an important implication of this is that explicit instructions from teachers could be employed in the classroom to maximize children's ability to generate ideas (ideation). After all, as Runco and Okuda (1991) put it, "performance on divergent thinking tests requires both the ability to generate ideas and metacognitive and strategic skills" (p. 439); therefore, teachers cannot ask students to generate ideas without providing salient instructions. Runco (2009) hypothesizes that two important processes are at work in the generation of creative ideas: assimilation of information and original interpretation. Based on his hypothesis, teachers could help students to construct a unique interpretation that, in turn, might lead to the production of creative ideas by those students.

As noted, for Runco and his colleagues, ideation is the key to understanding creative thinking. As such, they have attempted to identify a more appropriate criterion to replace traditional divergent-thinking tests. This quest is grounded in the belief that such a criterion should be one that "emphasizes ideation: the use of, appreciation of, and skill of generating ideas" (Kaufman, Plucker, & Baer, 2008, p. 119). As a consequence, Runco, Plucker, and Lim (2001) created a pool of 100 items for initial pilot testing, which they later reduced to 23 items. All of the items describe actual behaviors related to ideation. …

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