The relationship of birth order and socioeconomic status to the creativity of preschool children

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute


The creativity of 68 middle- and lower-class Caucasian preschool children attending a nursery school, kindergarten, or day-care center in Southwestern Virginia was measured by an object-identification originality test developed by Elizabeth K. Starkweather at the Oklahoma State University. Each child was tested individually by the investigator in an isolated room or special testing room. The Mann-Whitney U Test was employed to analyze differences, with a confidence level of .05. First born and only children were significantly more creative than later-born children. Middle-class children were significantly more creative than lower-class children. It was concluded that enrollment in a preschool program alone is not sufficient to increase the creativity of lower-class children to the level of their middle-class peers. It was also pointed out that some lower-class children were exceptionally creative and that further research into the home environments of these preschoolers might provide the answer to this puzzle. Experimental programs designed to increase creativity are needed to determine whether or not divergent thinking can be taught.