The creativity crisis in American children
10:09 pm

When I was a kid in the 1970s, I took the Torrance test three times, so I am well-acquainted with what it is and probably many of you reading this are as well. The idea that Torrance test scores, which measure ingenuity, problem solving and creativity, have fallen, dramatically, has very poor implications for the planet. Are we raising a generation of spectators with short attention spans, more interested in downloading Internet porn and playing video games than the arts and sciences? There’s been a lot of discussion in the culture of late, about older folks having a dim view of the “entitled” or “bratty” attitude of many of today’s twenty-somethings. Whether you buy into that or not (I can’t decide personally if this is an accurate perception/legitimate observation, but anecdotally speaking… well, maybe it is) this seems to indicate that a trend towards something not altogether positive might be accelerating, and that an evolutionary epigenetic change might be in the works. Not a good one.

High IQ parents, it’s up to you!

Like intelligence tests, Torrance’s test—a 90-minute series of discrete tasks, administered by a psychologist—has been taken by millions worldwide in 50 languages. Yet there is one crucial difference between IQ and CQ scores. With intelligence, there is a phenomenon called the Flynn effect—each generation, scores go up about 10 points. Enriched environments are making kids smarter. With creativity, a reverse trend has just been identified and is being reported for the first time here: American creativity scores are falling.

Kyung Hee Kim at the College of William & Mary discovered this in May, after analyzing almost 300,000 Torrance scores of children and adults. Kim found creativity scores had been steadily rising, just like IQ scores, until 1990. Since then, creativity scores have consistently inched downward. “It’s very clear, and the decrease is very significant,” Kim says. It is the scores of younger children in America—from kindergarten through sixth grade—for whom the decline is “most serious.”

The potential consequences are sweeping. The necessity of human ingenuity is undisputed. A recent IBM poll of 1,500 CEOs identified creativity as the No. 1 “leadership competency” of the future. Yet it’s not just about sustaining our nation’s economic growth. All around us are matters of national and international importance that are crying out for creative solutions, from saving the Gulf of Mexico to bringing peace to Afghanistan to delivering health care. Such solutions emerge from a healthy marketplace of ideas, sustained by a populace constantly contributing original ideas and receptive to the ideas of others.

It’s too early to determine conclusively why U.S. creativity scores are declining. One likely culprit is the number of hours kids now spend in front of the TV and playing videogames rather than engaging in creative activities. Another is the lack of creativity development in our schools. In effect, it’s left to the luck of the draw who becomes creative: there’s no concerted effort to nurture the creativity of all children.

Read the entire article:
The Creativity Crisis: For the first time, research shows that American creativity is declining. What went wrong—and how we can fix it. (Newsweek)

Posted by Richard Metzger
10:09 pm



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