Educational Psychology Chair, Kazan Federal University, Kazan, Russia.
Background. There have been many psychological studies, which show what factors enhance creative thinking in childhood, including studies on the impact of intelligence, personality, self-esteem, and other characteristics. But little is known of the impact of cultural congruence on the enhancement of creative thinking in childhood. In that regard, it would be interesting to explore whether cultural congruence influences the enhancement of the creative thinking of primary school students.
Objective. This study is aimed at examining the impact of cultural congruence on enhancing the creative thinking of primary school students. Cultural congruence can be described as a personality trait based on compliance with the rules which a society determines appropriate according to age and culture. 303 respondents participated in this study, of which 293 were primary school students aged 8-10 years (M=9, σ±0.5), and 10 were primary school teachers who worked with these children.
Results. The results of this study indicate that children’s compliance with the rules of age-specific normative situations — i.e. the level of cultural congruence– correlate, albeit negatively, with expressions of creative thinking.
Conclusion. The findings in this study provide further evidence of reasons for enhancing creative thinking in childhood, where cultural congruence and its factors defining the preschool child’s compliance with the rules in a normative situation influence the enhancement of the creative thinking of primary school students. This paper is aimed at identifying the impact of cultural congruence and its factors on the creative thinking of primary school students. The previously highlighted fact that cultural congruence has an impact on creative thinking of primary school students may be ascribed to various causes. First of all, it is noteworthy that there are no typical invariable rules within the factors making up cultural congruence which would enhance a child’s creative thinking. This provision defines the essence of the cultural context and the culturally shaped rules regulating the child’s behavior. Thus, the impact of cultural congruence is that it limits creative thinking. This tendency is noticeable in elementary school. The impact of cultural congruence on creative thinking also deals with the fact that socially accepted conventions limit children’s spontaneous activity, since the rules impose particular behavioral patterns on them. Therefore, children focus more on imitation than on finding their own solutions. Not coincidentally, cultural congruence had an impact on subtests, which measured creative thinking through non-verbal materials. These materials dealt with the child’s ability to find unusual ways to use everyday objects, to forecast different consequences of a hypothetical situation, to make specific objects with a set of shapes, to create new drawings from identical figures, and to find figures hidden in poorly structured images.
Keywords: creative thinking, cultural congruence, normative situations, rules, norms, behavior, primary school student
The study presented in this article relies on the principles of the cultural-historical theory, which defines cultural impact as the main driving force behind psychological development. Based on the assumption that culture is a set of normative situations, the study identifies rules that are typical for primary school students in big Russian cities. These rules are grouped into what we refer to as factors of cultural compliance, which ultimately can be seen as indicators of pupils’ cultural congruence. In specifying the cultural congruence of primary school students, we take into account not only the rules of school life but also the whole range of stable rules for children 7- to 10-years-old. Researchers at the Psychology Institute of the Higher University of the Chinese Academy of Science (Wang, Zhu, & Shi, 2011) call such rules usual or contextually usual. We include rules that govern the behavior of children who have cultural differences, so in this article we are talking about the rules that are typical for children of this age in Russia.
The goal of the study was to develop a test to diagnose the level of cultural congruence. The test was exposed to psychometric evaluation for validity, reliability, and discriminatory power. Factor analysis by means of varimax rotation provided for calibration of the rules by consolidating them into factors. These factors underpin the test and include the categories social interaction, academic competence, regulation, obedience, self-service, and self-control. In accordance with the principles employed in psychology, the factors confirm the construct validity of the test in relation to children’s development when they are between 7 and 10 years old. The study confirms that learning is the main activity at this age by introducing a factor that brings together rules inherent in normative situations in the education process. The social setting for psychological development, viewed as a specific relationship between a child at the given age and the environment, is determined by the child’s interaction with an adult. The factor of obedience is the key parameter for children of the age under consideration. New at this age are arbitrariness, self-regulation, self-analysis, and an internal action plan. Self-control is also conceptually linked to these factors.
The study offers a new look at the cultural determination of psychological development in ontogenesis. Validated in the course of the investigations, the test can be used to diagnose cultural congruence — that is, the compliance of a primary school student with rules inherent in normative situations.
Keywords: primary school student, cultural congruence, normative situation, validity, reliability, discriminatory power