Predictors of Creativity in Young People: Using Frequentist and Bayesian Approaches in Estimating the Importance of Individual and Contextual Factors


The development of creativity in young children has been studied extensively, but relatively few studies have examined the period of adolescence and emerging adulthood in relation to creative potential. The present study employs a combination of frequentist and Bayesian analyses to evaluate the impact of individual factors (e.g., IQ) and contextual factors (e.g., pursuit of creative hobbies) on creative ideation in three cohorts of young people aged 14-20 years. Measures of divergent thinking, specifically the Alternate Uses Task (AUT) and the Overcoming Knowledge Constraints Task, were used to this end. Openness to aesthetic and imaginative experience was the strongest predictor of creative potential for the three AUT measures. Moreover, Bayesian hypothesis testing revealed that the best predictive model for AUT ideational fluency and AUT overall originality was one that included only Openness, whereas the best predictive model for AUT peak originality, or the propensity to generate highly original responses, included Openness, as well as IQ and Engagement in Creative Hobbies. No group differences in creative potential were found between the three age cohorts (aged 14-15, 16-17, and 18-20). The study not only confirms the importance of openness to aesthetic and imaginative experience as a predictor of creative potential in adolescents and young adults, but also indicates the necessity to consider the combined and differentiated impact of individual and contextual factors in different facets of creative ideation.

Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts