Adolescents’ Drawing and Divergent Thinking: Does Culture Matter?


  •  Katherine Bottinelli    
  •  Yena Kyeong    
  •  Cecilia Cheung    

Abstract

The current study examined the association between adolescents’ divergent thinking and features of their drawings in the United States and China. A total of 321 American (n = 125) and Chinese (n = 196) adolescents completed a battery of assessments on divergent thinking and free drawing adapted from the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking (TTCT). Central (e.g., focal object) and contextual (e.g., background) features characterizing adolescents’ drawings were coded. Results indicated that Chinese adolescents included more central features in their drawings compared to their American counterparts. Chinese, but not American, adolescents’ inclusion of contextual features was positively associated with their divergent thinking. Findings suggest the potential for culture to influence adolescents’ cognition, such that contextual features in drawings may be particularly conducive to the development of divergent thinking in cultures where contextual sensitivity is emphasized.


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