This study aims to identify factors that influence creativity and to suggest policies that would enhance children’s creativity. In doing so, We measured the creativity of preschoolers and school-aged children and examined their psychological characteristics, brain activities, parents and family environments. We explores the relationship between children’s creativity and child-rearing environments as well as brain development.
The study contained two parts: first, we investigated the influences of family environments and child characteristic variables on creativity; second, we divided children into high- and low-creativity groups and analyzed their brain activities through fMRI. Korea Institute of Child Care & Education directed the overall research and entrusted the brain development research to Korea Brain Research Institute and the Neuroscience Research Institute at Gachon University.
The research method included literature review and international case studies. Surveys on demographical characteristics, creativity, and children’s living environments were given to the parents of 270 preschool children, 2nd and 5th graders in Seoul, Gyeonggi, and Inchon providences. The 270 children completed the intelligence test(preschoolers: WPPIS-IV; 2nd and 5th graders: WISC-IV), multipleintelligencetest, creativitytest(TCP-DP), and other tests such as the SRT-C. The test administrators were 14people who completed the first and second workshops and had master’s degree or above. Forty-four 2nd and 5th graders who had completed the creativity tests participated in the fMRI research on brain activities, in which they were asked to complete 2D and 3D mental rotation tasks and drawing tasks.
The main findings of the study are the following:
First, age and gender were related to creativity, and children’s creativity differed depending on their parents’ educational levels. Children’s intelligence was related to age, parents’ education and family income, and age differences were found in children’s temperament and stimulation seeking disposition.
Second, parents’ education history, creative dispositions and nurturing behaviors were not related to children’s creativity.
Third, CI, a subcategory of creativity, was related to the number of children in the family, the size of district, and family income. Also, creativity decreased as the number of extracurricular activities increased, and family environments that encourage independence seemed to influence creative dispositions.
Fourth, the children’s results on the creativity test(TCT-DP) showed that girls performed better than boys. Also, creativity increased with age. Aspects of creativity, such as continuity, completion, perspectives, humor, and irregularity differed according to age and developmental stage.
Fifth, the results of mental rotation tasks showed gender and grade-level differences, and the fMRI results showed differences in the brain activity patterns of high-intelligence and ordinary children from the 2nd and 3rd mental rotation and creative drawing tasks.
With the above results, we propose the following to enhance children’s creativity:
First, parents, through intimate interactions, need to encourage their children to actively think and need to provide rich educational environment for their children.
Second, educational institutions need to respect children’s interests and decisions and provide them with diverse learning experiences.
Third, we need an educational system that would increase social awareness of creativity, help society learn to accept new ways and have a more process-oriented view on learning.
Fourth, we need to recognize that children’s experiences and education influence their brain development and need to continuously provide them with opportunities to fully develop. Also, we need to educate parents and teachers on creative teaching methods.