Processes underlying divergent thinking and problem solving

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A battery of problem-solving and divergent-thinking tasks was administered to 91 5th graders from a middle-class background. The purpose was to attempt identification of a factor that could be labeled “problem solving” and be distinct from divergent-thinking factors. In exploratory factor analyses, principal axis, alpha, and maximum-likelihood factor procedures with orthogonal and oblique rotations were computed. The 3-factor solutions across all factor methods and rotations were consistent. In addition to a major ideational fluency factor and a small school achievement factor, a factor consisting of tasks requiring Ss to analyze given problem conditions and sequence steps to achieve a stated goal was identified. This factor accounted for 20-30% of the total variance and was labeled a problem-solving factor. Results are discussed in terms of possible psychological processes underlying divergent thinking and problem solving. (23 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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