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Minerva Pediatrica 2001 August;53(4):285-96


language: Italian

The evaluation of creative thought: a comparison of methodologies

Caponetto C., Di Napoli R., Roccella M.


Background. To verify the reliability of the evaluation of the original thought through verbal tests, processed and standardised with reference to different socio-cultural contexts. In this respect we focused our attention on the Torrence Test on Creative Thought (TTCT), considering the trans-cultural studies carried out by Torrence.
Methods. The analyses were carried out on the linguistic output of 116 subjects attending the 4th and 5th years of primary school, responding to the first verbal activity of the TTCT. For the evaluation of the Italian output, pointing out the Type and Token, morphemes and phrases were considered as basic units. The authors calculated the percentage values of occurrence of phrases, morphemes and grammatical functions. Then they made cross comparisons between the resulting percentage values, found unique morphemes, morphemes recurring only twice, as well as phrases characterised by the presence of the aforesaid typology of words.
Results. TTCT prescriptive evaluation: the percentage (41.19%) is in favour of a widespread originality in the phraseological output of our sample. Evaluation of phrases/units according to their statistical frequency: 93.39 and 83.91% respectively of the type/phrases and of the overall phraseological output turned out to consist of unique phrases. Originality: Italian linguistic production is highly original. Analysis of phrases containing unique and double words: the evaluation of Originality according to Torrence's criteria was not adequately confirmed in our sample. Functional analysis: it showed that 23.17 and 41.67% of unique productions acted respectively verbs and as nouns; the only analogies in the comparison between American and Italian productions were pointed out by analyses carried out according to the criterion of the grammatical function of words.
Conclusions. The data from this research bring forward the use of tests with verbal contents whose ideational solutions are articulate and complex linguistic propositions, validated on people that are different in terms of lexical structures and reference context, from those on whom the prescriptive criteria are identified and built. With reference to the higher levels of Originality noticed in the Italian linguistic output in comparison with American, the question is still open if they are linked to creative modes of thought or can be referred to specific cultural styles of the Italian language.

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