Creativity Test: The Incomplete Figure Test

You have three minutes to add lines to the figures below to make pictures out of them. Try to tell a story with your pictures and give each picture a title.

Screen shot 2014-04-12 at 3.21.16 PM

 What does this test do?

This test was first developed to measure creativity in a similar way to The Alternative Use Test. It also looked at:

  1. Fluency: how many relevant ideas you have
  2. Flexibility: number of categories your ideas fit into
  3. Originality: how uncommon your drawing is
  4. Elaboration: how detailed your drawing is

In 1984, a new version of the test was developed that eliminated flexibility as a scoring mechanism.  It added two new ideas:

  1. Resistance to Premature Closure: how open minded your drawing is, this measures curiosity
  2. Abstractness of Titles: how original your title is (“Brad Pitt’s Mansion” would score higher than “House”), this measures synthesis and organization

History of this test:

The Incomplete Figure Test is part of the larger Torrance Test of Creative Thinking, which was developed by Ellis Paul Torrance in 1966. The test was updated in 1974, 1984, 1990, 1998 and 2008. Today, it is the most used creativity test in the world and predicts creative achievement better than any other creativity test. There are many different elements to the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking, but the Incomplete Figure Test is the most famous.

Test results show  creativity is decreasing:

The College of William and Mary’s Kyung-Hee Kim conducted a study (released in 2011) that found that the U.S.’s scores on the Torrance Test have been decreasing since 1990. The study found that creativity is decreasing across all age groups. Kim examined 300,000 Torrance tests as part of the study.

The study found that many aspects of creativity have decreased in the past 20 years:

  1. Fluency: decreased 4.68 percent from 1990 to 1998 and 7 percent from 1990 to 2008
  2. Originality: decreased 3.74 percent from 1990 to 1998 and remained static from 1998 to 2008
  3. Creative Strengths (traits associated with creativity such as imagination, passion and seeing things from a different angle): decreased 3.16 percent from 1990 to 1998 and 5.75 percent from 1990 to 2008
  4. Elaboration: decreased 19.41 percent from 1984 to 1990, 24.6 percent from 1984 to 1998 and 36.8 percent from 1984 to 2008
  5. Abstractness of Titles: increased until 1998, then decreased 7.4 percent from 1998 to 2008
  6. Resistance to Premature Closure: decreased from 1984 to 1990, increased from 1990 to 1998 and decreased 1.8 percent from 1998 to 2008

Kim said more research needed to be done in order to find an explanation for the decrease.

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