Scholarly article on topic 'Effects of Gender and Thinking Style on Student's Creative Thinking Ability'

Effects of Gender and Thinking Style on Student's Creative Thinking Ability Academic research paper on "Psychology"

CC BY-NC-ND
0
0
Share paper
OECD Field of science
Keywords
Gender / thinking style / creative thinking / interaction effect

Abstract of research paper on Psychology, author of scientific article — Chua Yan Piaw

Abstract The aims of this study were (1) to explore the relationships between gender and brain thinking style with creative thinking ability of a group of lower sixth students (n=216), and (2) to identify the interaction effect of the two personal factors on creative thinking ability. Brain thinking style of the students was measured by the Styles of Learning and Thinking test while creative thinking ability was measured by the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking. By controlling three moderators, i.e. ethnicity, academic major and critical thinking ability, results of the MANCOVA test indicate that gender was significantly correlated with creative thinking ability, while right brain thinking and learning style was positively and significantly correlated with all of the five components of creative thinking ability, i.e. originality, fluency, elaboration, abstractness of title and resistance to premature closure. Results indicate that gender and thinking style were significant factors of creative thinking ability. However, no significant interaction effect of the two variables on overall creative thinking ability was found.

Academic research paper on topic "Effects of Gender and Thinking Style on Student's Creative Thinking Ability"

Available online at www.sciencedirect.com

ScienceDirect PrOC6d ¡0

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 116 (2014) 5135-5139

5th World Conference on Educational Sciences - WCES 2013

of gender and thinking style on students' creative thinking

ability

Chua Yan Piaw *

University of Malaya, Institute of Educational Leadership, Wisma R & D, Jalan Pantai Baru, 59990 Kuala Lumpure, Malaysia

Abstract

The aims of this study were (1) to explore the relationships between gender and brain thinking style with creative thinking ability of a group of lower sixth students (n=216), and (2) to identify the interaction effect of the two personal factors on creative thinking ability. Brain thinking style of the students was measured by the Styles of Learning and Thinking test while creative thinking ability was measured by the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking. By controlling three moderators, i.e. ethnicity, academic major and critical thinking ability, results of the MANCOVA test indicate that gender was significantly correlated with creative thinking ability, while right brain thinking and learning style was positively and significantly correlated with all of the five components of creative thinking ability, i.e. originality, fluency, elaboration, abstractness of title and resistance to premature closure. Results indicate that gender and thinking style were significant factors of creative thinking ability. However, no significant interaction effect of the two variables on overall creative thinking ability was found. © 2013 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Selectionand/orpeer-review underresponsibilityofAcademic WorldEducation andResearch Center. Keywords: Gender, thinking style, creative thinking; interaction effect;

1. Introduction

Previous studies have documented the relationship between brain thinking style (the tendency to use the left, right or whole brain to think and learn) and creative thinking ability. However the results are inconsistent. Some researchers discovered that right brain thinking style is positively correlated with creative thinking ability (Marshal, Faust, Hendler & Jung-Beeman, 2007; Denny & O' Sullivan, 2007; Torrance & Mourad, 1979; Ibrahim & Davis, 1989; Kim and Michael, 1995). These findings match with the split brain theory (Sperry, 1975) that the right brain hemisphere involved in the process of creative thinking. Notwithstanding of these, Riegel (1979) and Torrance & Ball (1984) reported that creative thinking ability is positively correlated with the left brain style.

Zalizan, Khadijah, Hazadiah & Ma'rof (2002) reported that male and female students who possessed different thinking and learning styles have different perspectives on the teaching style of teachers. These researchers claimed that one of the reasons for high dropout rate of male students from schools is female teachers' teaching styles are very much against the male students learning style. This would probably explain the difference of thinking abilities between male and female students. However, more research evidence need to be gathered before any conclusion can be made.

* Corresponding Author: Chua Yan Piaw. Tel.: +603-2248-3359 E-mail address: yanpiaw@gmail.com

Effects

1877-0428 © 2013 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Selection and/or peer-review under responsibility of Academic World Education and Research Center. doi: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2014.01.1087

Most studies on creative thinking ability in the past were also focusing on relationship between creative thinking ability and personal factors such as gender, ethnicity, academic major and thinking ability. However, the findings are also inconsistent. For example, some researchers found out that the females are more creative than the males (Chia, Koh & Pragasm, 2008; Fleenor & Toylor, 1994). In contrary, other researchers reported that the males are more creative than the females (Jellen & Urban, 1989; Ruth & Birren, 1985).

In view of the wide diversity of previous studies, this study was conducted to provide new evidence for the relationship between creative thinking ability and two personal factors, i.e. gender and brain thinking style. Since ethnicity, academic major and critical thinking had been reported as significant moderators of the relationship between creative thinking ability and the two personal factors (Chua, 2002), the three variables are controlled as covariates in this study.

2. Methodology

This study employed a non-experimental design. Three paper-pencil psychological tests were used to gather data from the subjects of the study. The tests are the Styles of Learning and Thinking test (Torrance, 1988), the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking (Torrance & Ball, 1984) and the Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal (Watson & Glaser, 1980).

The sample of this study consists of 216 form sixth students who were randomly selected from its population (N= 2491) in the State of Selangor in Malaysia. The sample size is determined by using the power analysis method (Cohen & Cohen, 1975) with type I error (a) fixed at .05 and type II error (P) fixed at .80. The sample consists of 75 male and 141 female students; 79 of them possessed left brain style, and 118 possessed right brain style while 19 of them were whole brain style thinkers.

Three psychological tests were used to gather data from the respondents in the sample. The respondents answered the tests individually in classroom setting. Time allocated for answering the tests are 20, 30 and 45 minutes each: (1) The Styles of Learning and Thinking test (SOLAT) which consists of 28 multiple-choice items of brain hemispheric. It was used to determine the brain thinking style - the tendency of a respondent to think and learn with either his left brain, right brain or whole brain, (2) The Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking (TTCT figural form) which consists of three drawing activities. It was used to determine respondents' creative thinking ability in five aspects, i.e. originality, fluency, elaboration, abstractness of title and resistance to premature closure, and (3) The Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal (WGCTA) which consists of 80 multiple-choice items. It was used to determine respondents' critical thinking ability. A pilot study was conducted on the three tests to identify the reliabilities of the test towards the respondents. Cronbach's alpha internal consistency reliabilities of the three tests were in the reliability range of .65 to .95 (SOLAT: .79 to .84; TTCT: .78 to .89; WGCTA: .74 to .87). Hence the tests were reliable for gathering data from the subjects of the study.

For data analysis, main effect of gender and brain thinking style on creative thinking ability were analysed by one-way ANOVA tests. Interaction effect of gender and brain thinking style on creative thinking ability were analysed by MANCOVA tests (Chua, 2006).

3. Results

3.1. Effect of gender and thinking style on five components of creative thinking ability

Results in Table 1 show that elaboration was the only component of creative thinking ability which yielded significant difference between the male and female students. In this case, the male out-performed the female students on elaboration [elaboration mean scores: male = 80.70, female = 66.97; mean differences=13.73, p< .05]. It means the male students were better in elaborating creative ideas than the female students. However, there were no significant differences between male and female students on the other four components of creative thinking ability.

The data in Table 2 reveals differences between the three categories of brain thinking style across the five components of creative thinking ability. The results show that there was a trend of impact of the brain thinking style on the five components of creative thinking ability, where it shows differences among the left brain style group and the right brain style group. There were significant differences where the right brain styled students performed better

than the left brain styled students in all the five components of creative thinking ability [originality mean score: right brain style=110.12; left brain style=93.63, mean differences = 16.49, p< .05; elaboration mean score: right brain style =73.32, left brain style=65.31, mean differences=17.56, p<.05; abstractness of title mean score: right brain style =88.27, left brain style = 78.19; mean differences = 10.08, p<.05; resistance to premature closure mean score: right brain style =68.21, left brain style=59.91, mean differences = 8.30, p<.05; Fluency mean score: right brain style =105.99, left brain style=89.40, mean differences = 16.59, p<.05]. As a whole, the results reveal that in a population study the right brain styled students are creative than the left brain styled students.

Table 1: Comparison between male and female students on five components of creative thinking ability

Dependent Variable Comparison within gender Mean difference Sig.

Originality Male - Female 7.50 .13

Elaboration Male - Female 13.73 .00*

Abstractness of Title Male - Female 3.18 .56

Resistance to Premature Closure Male - Female 2.23 .53

Fluency Male - Female 7.02 .13

Note: *significant at p< .05.

Table 2. Effects of brain thinking style on five components of creative thinking ability

Dependent Variables Comparison within brain thinking style Mean difference Sig.

Originality Left brain -Right brain -16.49 .00**

Left brain- Whole brain .52 1.00

Right brain - Whole brain 17.01 .06

Elaboration Left brain -Right brain -8.00 .01**

Left brain- Whole brain -17.55 .01**

Right brain - Whole brain -9.55 .35

Abstractness of Title Left brain -Right brain -10.08 .01*

Left brain- Whole brain .34 1.00

Right brain - Whole brain 10.43 .59

Resistance of Premature Closure Left brain -Right brain -8.30 .00**

Left brain- Whole brain 0.74 1.00

Right brain - Whole brain 9.03 .25

Fluency Left brain -Right brain -16.59 .00**

Left brain- Whole brain 4.32 1.00

Right brain - Whole brain 20.92 .00**

Notes: "significant at p< .01; *significant at p< .05.

3.3. Interaction effect of gender and brain thinking style on five components in creative thinking ability

Table 3 indicates the results of one-way ANOVA tests for the main effects of gender and brain thinking style on the five components of creative thinking ability. The results show that the two personal factors gender and brain thinking style have significant main effects on creative thinking ability. However, no significant interaction effect of the two variables on creative thinking ability was found in the five components of creative thinking ability. In other words, in a population study, there was no interaction effect between gender and brain thinking style on the five components in creative thinking ability.

3.4. Interaction effect of gender and brain thinking style on overall creative thinking ability by removing the moderating effects of moderators

Table 4 depicts the analysed results of main effects and interaction effect of gender and brain thinking style on overall creative thinking ability by controlling three moderators i.e. ethnicity, academic major and critical thinking. The results reveal the two moderators ethnicity and academic major have positive effects on overall creative thinking ability [ethnicity: F(5, 203) = 2.74, p< .05; academic major: F(5, 203) = 8.65, p< .05]. However, critical

thinking was not a significant moderator for overall creative thinking ability. Besides that, gender and brain thinking style were significant main effects of overall creative thinking ability of students [Gender: F(5, 203)=2.40, p< .05; brain thinking style: F(10, 408)=5.51, p< .05]. In other words, by removing the effects of the moderators, gender and brain thinking style were significant factors of overall creative thinking ability of the students. However, no significant interaction effect of the two personal factors on overall creative thinking ability was found [F(10, 408)=1.14, p> .05].

Table 3: Effects of gender and brain thinking style on the five components of creative thinking ability

Factor Creative thinking ability df1, df2 F Sig.

Gender Originality 1, 207 2.22 .13

Elaboration 1, 207 10.60 .00**

Abstractness of Title 1, 207 0.32 .56

Resistance of Premature Closure 1, 207 0.38 .53

Fluency 1, 207 2.28 .13

Thinking style Originality 1, 206 13.96 .00**

Elaboration 1, 206 6.93 .00**

Abstractness of Title 1, 206 4.24 .01*

Resistance of Premature Closure 1,206 6.99 .00**

Fluency 1,206 17.57 .00**

Gender* Thinking style Originality 1,206 0.48 .61

Elaboration 1,206 2.32 .10

Abstractness of Title 1,206 0.23 .79

Resistance of Premature Closure 1,206 0.24 .78

Fluency 1,206 0.28 .75

Notes: "significant at p< .01; *significant at p< .05.

Table 4: Results of the MANCOVA test

Effect Pillai's Trace Value F df1 df2 Sig.

Intercept 0.37 24.29 5 203 .00**

Ethnicity 0.06 2.74 5 203 .02*

Academic Major 0.17 8.65 5 203 .00**

Critical thinking 0.03 1.63 5 203 .15

Gender 0.05 2.40 5 203 .03*

Thinking style 0.23 5.51 10 408 .00**

Gender* Thinking style 0.05 1.14 10 408 .33

Notes: "significant at p< .01; *significant at p< .05.

4. Discussion, implication and recommendation

Results of this study reflect that there is a great impact of gender to the five components of creative thinking ability. This finding matches with previous results (Fleenor & Toylor, 1994; Milgram & Milgram, 1976; Aliotti & Haskins, 1975; and Dudek & Strobel, 1993). In spite of this, there was a difference in elaboration component, where the male students were better in elaborating ideas than the female students.

The study also shows that in the student population, students who prone to think and learn with their right brain were more creative than students who prone to think and learn with their left brain. In other words, in comparison with the left brain learners, right brain learners tend to voice out the origin idea (originality). On top of that, right brain learners were able to further elaborate the ideas in details (elaboration) in an abstract way (abstractness) and also have the ability of resistance against any form of premature thinking (resistance to premature closure). In addition, they can come out with a new idea in a short period (flexibility). These results support the split brain theory that creativity is a function of the right brain (Sperry, 1975).

The findings support the result of Zalizan et.al. (2003) that there was a difference between male and female students on learning style. This study further supports their claim that one of the reasons for high dropout rate of male students in school is due to the left brain thinking teaching styles of school teachers are incompatible with male students' right brain learning style.

This study supports the idea that the teaching methods, curriculum and assessments in the Malaysian school are still concentrated on the left brain orientated style, which focus on logic thinking, memorizing and obeying instructions. This result is very much against the will of the ministry of education to expand the whole brain thinking of the students in schools in a way to develop the human capital. In other words, it is also the hard work of ministry to produce innovative, creative and competent students in the market for the future.

Due to the limitations of homogeneous characteristics of the sample and the small sample size, future studies could be conducted widely on school students in all ages and grades to provide a bigger picture of the impacts of gender and brain thinking style on creative thinking ability. Such studies would provide essential information to educators, especially those from the ministry of education and teacher education division. Finally, it is hope that school teachers would plan their teaching and learning activities in more effective ways as to expand the students' creative thinking ability and nurture their whole potential in achieving the goal of effective education.

References

Aliotti, N. Britt, M. & Haskins, G. (1975). Relationships among creativity, intelligence, and achievement measures in upward bound students.

Psychology in the Schools, 12, 423-427. Chia, Y. M.; Koh, H. C. & Pragasam, J. (2008). An International Study of Career Drivers of Accounting Students in Singapore, Australia and

Hong Kong. Journal of Education and Work, 21(1), 41-60. Chua, Y. P. (2002). Brain hemisphericity, creative thinking and critical thinking oof Malaysian science and arts students. Doctoral Dissertation.

Serdang, Malaysia: University Putra of Malaysia Chua, Y. P. (2004). Creative and critical thinking styles. Serdang, Malaysia: University Putra Press. Chua, Y. P. (2006). Kaedah Penyelidikan. Shah Alam, Malaysia: McGraw-Hill Education (In Malay Language).

Cohen, J. & Cohen, P. (1975). Applied multiple regression/correlation analysis for the behavioral science. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Denny, K. & O'Sullivan, V. (2007). The Economic Consequences of Being Left-Handed: Some Sinister Results. Journal of Human Resources, 42(2), 353-374.

Dudek, S. Z. & Strobel, M. G. (1993). Cumulative and proximal influences on the social environment and children's creative potential. Journal of

Genetic Psychology, 154(4), 487-499 Fleenor, J. W. & Taylor, S. (1994). Construct validity of three self-report measures of creativity. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 54(2), 464-470.

Jellen, H. G. & Urban, K. K. (1989). Assessing creative potential world-wide: the first cross-cultural application of the test for creative thinking-

drawing production. Gifted Education International, 6, 78-86. Mashal, N.; Faust, M.; Hendler, T.; & Jung-Beeman, M. (2007). An fMRI Investigation of the Neural Correlates Underlying the Processing of

Novel Metaphoric Expressions. Brain and Language, 100(2), 115-126 Milgram, R. M. & Milgram, N. A. (1976). Creative thinking and creative performance in Israeli students. Journal of Educational Psychology, 68(3), 255-259.

Riegel, T. R. Jr. (1979). Laterality of high school students and its relation to convergent and divergent abilities. (Doctoral Dissertation, The

University of Georgia, 1979) Dissertation Abstracts International 40 (11) Ruth, J. E. & Birren, J. E. (1985). Creativity in adulthood and age: Relations to intelligence, sex and mode of testing. International Journal of

Behavioral Development, 8, 99-109. Sperry, R. W. (1975). Left brain, right brain. Saturday Review, August, 30-33.

Torrance, E. P. & Ball. O. E. (1984). Torrance Test of Creative Thinking streamlined (revised) manual including norm and direction for

administering and scoring Figural A and B. Bensenville, IL: Scholastic Testing Service. Torrance, E. P. (1988). Styles of learning and thinking, Administrator's manual. Bensenville, IL: Scholastic Testing Service. Watson, G. B. & Glaser, E. M. (1980). Watson-Glaser critical thinking appraisal. San Antonio, TX: Harcourt Brace.

Zalizan, M. J., Khadijah, R. M. Y., Hazadiah, M. D. & Ma'rof, R. (2003). Girls out-performed boys in most subjects. The New Strait Time, 31 August: 12.