Individual differences and age-related changes in divergent thinking in toddlers and preschoolers.

S Bijvoet-van den Berg, E Hoicka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)
355 Downloads (Pure)


Divergent thinking shows the ability to search for new ideas, which is an important factor contributing to innovation and problem solving. Current divergent thinking tests allow researchers to study children's divergent thinking from the age of 3 years on. This article presents the first measure of divergent thinking that can be used with children as young as 2 years. The Unusual Box test is a nonverbal and nonimitative test in which children play individually with a novel toy and novel objects. Divergent thinking is scored as the number of different actions performed. Study 1 shows that the Unusual Box test is a valid measure of divergent thinking as it correlates with standard measures of divergent thinking in 3- and 4-year-olds. Study 2 indicates that the test can be used with 2-year-olds, as it shows high test-retest reliability, demonstrating that 2-year-olds can think divergently. Across both studies, individual differences and age-related changes were found, indicating that some children are better at divergent thinking than others and that children's divergent thinking increases with age. This test will allow researchers to gain insight into the early emergence of divergent thinking. © 2014 American Psychological Association.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1629-1639
Number of pages11
JournalDevelopmental Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2014

Structured keywords

  • SoE Centre for Psychological Approaches for Studying Education


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