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Mothers and Fathers of Invention

Title: The Mothers and Fathers of Invention: A Meta-Analysis of Gender Differences in Creativity.
Name(s): Thompson, Taylor Lee, author
Pfeiffer, Steven I., professor directing dissertation
Clark, Kathleen M., university representative
Canto, Angela I., committee member
Swanbrow Becker, Martin Alan, committee member
Florida State University, degree granting institution
College of Education, degree granting college
Department of Educational Psychology and Learning Systems, degree granting department
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 2016
Publisher: Florida State University
Place of Publication: Tallahassee, Florida
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource (165 pages)
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: Relative to males, females have historically been underrepresented among recognized creators, inventors, and innovators. Despite vast strides toward female empowerment and gender equality in various social, political, and employment arenas, a trend of gender imbalance in many creative endeavors has persisted into the present day. Although real-world and anecdotal evidence present a clear disparity, the actual empirical literature regarding gender and creative capabilities presents a more muddled picture about gender differences. Some studies have suggested female superiority; some suggest male superiority; some suggest gender equality; and still others suggest that either gender can excel creatively depending on various measurement and contextual factors. The purpose of the current study was 1) to systematically investigate the accumulated evidence on gender differences in creativity and 2) to explore the conceptual factors and potential moderators that may account for past discrepancies in the literature. Specifically, a meta-analysis was conducted to address the question of whether females and males tend to differ in mean level of creativity across the empirical literature and also whether a variety of moderating variables (i.e., creativity construct, domain specificity of measure, measure format, sample age, study era) affect the relationship between creativity and gender. In order to collect a pool of primary studies to address these questions, a systematic literature search was conducted, pulling for studies across the lifespan and throughout historical eras. All studies relating gender to an individual-level, quantitative measure of creative ability or achievement were eligible for inclusion, resulting in a variety of included assessment instruments (i.e., divergent thinking performance tests, evaluation of creative products, self-report inventories, other-report inventories). The literature search returned 271 eligible studies, yielding 480 independent effect sizes and a total N of 137,247 participants. Analyses showed a significant relationship between creativity and gender overall (g ̅= .056, p < .05), such that females showed slightly higher creativity than males across all studies. Creativity construct and age were found to be marginally significant in moderating the association between gender and creativity, and creativity test format was significant at p < .05 as a moderator. However, in a multiple regression combining the predictive power of these three variables, age was no longer found to be a significant moderator. Domain specificity and study era were also not found to be significant moderators. Results of the study were discussed in terms of the strengths and limitations of the design, suggestions for future research, and practical implications for both males and females in pursuing their creative passions.
Identifier: FSU_2016SP_Thompson_fsu_0071E_13059 (IID)
Submitted Note: A Dissertation submitted to the Department of Educational Psychology and Learning Systems in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Degree Awarded: Spring Semester 2016.
Date of Defense: February 29, 2016.
Keywords: Creativity, Divergent Thinking, Gender, Meta-analysis, Sex Differences
Bibliography Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Advisory Committee: Steven I. Pfeiffer, Professor Directing Dissertation; Kathleen M. Clark, University Representative; Angela I. Canto, Committee Member; Martin A. Swanbrow Becker, Committee Member.
Subject(s): Educational psychology
Developmental psychology
Counseling psychology
Persistent Link to This Record:
Owner Institution: FSU

Choose the citation style.
Thompson, T. L. (2016). The Mothers and Fathers of Invention: A Meta-Analysis of Gender Differences in Creativity. Retrieved from