Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Creativity, delinquency, and production of unsolicited violent content in drawings
by Wolhendler, Baruch, Ph.D., Fielding Graduate University, 2015, 76; 3718068
Abstract (Summary)

Limited research on creativity in delinquents concluded they were generally not creative, and delinquents who were creative tended to express creativity in the domains of crime and violence. None of this research examined creativity in delinquents with testing validated to measure both the divergent-exploratory and convergent-integrative thinking processes, now considered essential and interdependent elements of creative thinking. Further, no studies empirically examined creative products for violent and criminal content. The present study used archival data from an adapted Evaluation of Potential Creativity (EPoC) to analyze the creative potential of adolescents in a juvenile detention center relative to a reference group of adolescents in the general population. The adapted EPoC assessed creative potential in the graphic and verbal domains of divergent-exploratory thinking and the graphic domain of convergent-integrative thinking. Drawings from the adapted EPoC were also analyzed for presence and level of unsolicited violent content.

Delinquents demonstrated lower levels of creativity than adolescents of the general population in the graphic domain of both divergent-exploratory and convergent-integrative thinking. However, there was no difference in level of creativity between delinquents and adolescents of the general population in the verbal domain of divergent-exploratory thinking. In addition, delinquency did not moderate the relationship between creativity and production of unsolicited violent content in drawings; high levels of creativity in both delinquents and adolescents of the general population were associated with the production of high levels of unsolicited violent content in drawings.

The finding of no difference in levels of verbal creativity between delinquents and adolescents of the general population may suggest both groups share a common deficiency in verbal creativity due to environmental and pedagogic factors; specifically, an art bias equating creativity with graphic but not verbal creativity, and a teacher preference for students oriented toward the visual arts. The finding associating high levels of creativity with high levels of unsolicited violent content in drawings for both delinquents and adolescents of the general population may be related to the observed tendency of all creative adolescents to draw a greater volume of content overall, indicating drawing violent content is commonplace and disassociated from delinquency.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Drob, Sanford L.
Commitee: Bush, Joseph P., Osherson, Samuel O., Vitulano, Lawrence A.
School: Fielding Graduate University
Department: The School of Psychology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 76/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Behavioral psychology, Personality psychology, Criminology, Cognitive psychology
Keywords: Art bias, Creative potential, Creativity, Delinquency, Evaluation of potential creativity, Violent drawings
Publication Number: 3718068
ISBN: 9781321977844
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