Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 211–220 | Cite as

Problem discovery, divergent thinking, and the creative process

  • Mark A. Runco
  • Shawn M. Okuda


Previous empirical research suggests that problem discovery is an important step in the creative process. The present investigation was conducted to examine the role of problem discovery in the divergent thinking and creative performance of adolescents. Three divergent thinking tests were administered to a group of adolescents. Each test contained three presentedproblems and one discoveredproblem. The discovered problem allowed the adolescents to think of a problem and then to provide solutions. Comparisons indicated that the adolescents generated significantly more responses to the discovered problems than the presented problems. Most important was that the unique variance of the discovered problems (controlling the variance shared with scores from the presented problems) was reliable and significantly related to five indices of creative performance. These results support the componential theory of divergent thinking and creativity, and are consistent with the developmental view of problem finding.


Health Psychology Empirical Research Unique Variance Creative Process Creative Performance 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark A. Runco
    • 1
  • Shawn M. Okuda
    • 2
  1. 1.California State UniversityFullerton
  2. 2.Psychology DepartmentClaremont Graduate SchoolClaremont

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