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Psychometric approach

The psychometric approach is based on direct measurement of creativity and/or its perceived correlates such as knowledge, abilities, attitudes, and personality traits in individual. It studies everyday creativity using various tests (Plucker and Renzulli, 1999).

The founder of psychometric approach, J.P. Guilford (1954, 1967) considered divergent thinking as the most important ingredient of creativity. He also devised complex models to describe the cognitive process: the Structure of Intellect (SI) consisting of 120 independent factors or abilities (their number was later extended to 150 and then to 180) and Structure of Intellect Problem-solving (SIPS). He proposed Unusual Uses Test in which the examinee had to find as much use for a common object as possible, and other similar tests.

The legacy of psychometric approach is ambivalent. As Sternberg and Lubart (1999: 7) put it:

The psychometric resolution of measuring creativity had both positive and negative effects on the field. On the positive side, the tests facilitated research by providing a brief, easy-to-administer, objectively scorable assessment device. Furthermore, research was now possible with everyday people (i.e. noneminent samples). On the negative side, first, some researches criticized brief paper-and-pencil tests as trivial, inadequate measures of creativity; more significant productions, such as actual drawings or writing samples, should be used in addition, or, better, instead. Second, other critics suggested that fluency, flexibility, originality, and elaboration scores failed to capture the concept of creativity.

Psychometric approach. Dictionary of Creativity: Terms, Concepts, Theories & Findings in Creativity Research / Compiled and edited by Eugene Gorny., 2007.
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