Study shows 20-year decrease in creativity quotient

Posted on: July 12, 2010

Saturday (7/10) on the Newsweek website, Po Bronson writes, “Back in 1958, Ted Schwarzrock was an 8-year-old third grader when he became one of the ‘Torrance kids,’ a group of nearly 400 Minneapolis children who completed a series of creativity tasks newly designed by professor E. Paul Torrance. Schwarzrock still vividly remembers the moment when a psychologist handed him a fire truck and asked, ‘How could you improve this toy to make it better and more fun to play with?’ … The accepted definition of creativity is production of something original and useful, and that’s what’s reflected in the tests. … 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. … 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.’ ”

Posted July 12, 2010