Serial order effect in divergent thinking in five- to six-year-olds: Individual differences as related to executive functions
Number of pages
SourceJournal of Intelligence, 9, 2, (2021), article 20
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OW PWO [owi]
SW OZ BSI OLO
Journal of Intelligence
SubjectLearning and Plasticity
This study examined the unfolding in real time of original ideas during divergent thinking (DT) in five- to six-year-olds and related individual differences in DT to executive functions (EFs). The Alternative Uses Task was administered with verbal prompts that encouraged children to report on their thinking processes while generating uses for daily objects. In addition to coding the originality of each use, the domain-specific DT processes memory retrieval and mental operations were coded from children’s explanations. Six EF tasks were administered and combined into composites to measure working memory, shifting, inhibition, and selective attention. The results replicated findings of a previous study with the same children but at age four years: (1) there was a serial order effect of the originality of uses; and (2) the process mental operations predicted the originality of uses. Next, the results revealed that both domain-general EFs and domain-specific executive processes played a role in the real-time unfolding of original ideas during DT. Particularly, the DT process mental operations was positively related to the early generation of original ideas, while selective attention was negatively related to the later generation of original ideas. These findings deepen our understanding of how controlled executive processes operate during DT.
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