Creativity in mathematics performance: The role of divergent and convergent thinking
Number of pages
SourceBritish Journal of Educational Psychology, (2021), article e12459
08 september 2021
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI OLO
British Journal of Educational Psychology
SubjectLearning and Plasticity
Background: Creativity requires both divergent and convergent thinking. Previous research established that divergent thinking relates to mathematics performance, but generally ignored the role of convergent thinking and, hence, leaves it unclear how both might interact when children work on mathematical tasks. This study addressed this paucity in the research literature, with the goal of improving our understanding of the role of creative thinking in primary school mathematics. Aims: This study examined how divergent and convergent thinking contribute to mathematics performance, both directly and jointly, on single- and multiple-solution tasks. Sample The study was conducted with 229 Dutch fifth graders of 12 primary schools. Method Divergent and convergent thinking were measured with a visual and verbal task. Path analysis was used including verbal and visual divergent and convergent thinking tasks in relation to single- and multiple-solution mathematics task performance. Working memory was included as a covariate. Results: Verbal convergent thinking positively predicted single- and multiple-solution task performance. Verbal divergent and convergent thinking interacted in relation to single-solution task performance, while visual divergent and convergent thinking interacted in relation to multiple-solution task performance. Conclusions: Children’s mathematics performance mainly relies on convergent thinking. The role of divergent thinking is twofold: it complements convergent thinking on multiple-solution tasks and compensates convergent thinking on single-solution tasks.
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