Which Divergent Thinking Index Is More Associated With Problem Finding Ability? The Role of Flexibility and Task Nature

Ahmed M. Abdulla Alabbasi, Roni Reiter-Palmon, Zainab M. Sultan, Alaa Eldin A. Ayoub

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Problem finding (PF) and divergent thinking (DT) are considered to be indicators of creative potential. Previous studies, with different goals, suggest a positive correlation between PF and DT. However, none of these works have explicitly examined which index of DT is more associated with PF. The current investigation examined the association between PF and three main indexes of DT: fluency, flexibility, and originality. It also tested whether such a relation differs based on task nature (verbal vs. figural). The sample consisted of 90 sixth graders who completed three tests: (a) a verbal DT test, (b) a figural DT test, and (c) a PF test. Correlational analysis showed that flexibility was highly correlated with PF in the verbal DT test, whereas originality was significantly correlated with PF in the figural test. Results of the path analysis confirmed the results from correlational analyses and showed that verbal flexibility strongly predicted PF fluency, flexibility, and originality more than any other variable. Likelihood ratio test showed that using 1 or 3% cutoff for scoring originality did not significantly altered the results in both figural and verbal DT (vs. PF), while the likelihood ratio test showed significant differences between the figural and verbal DT. Finally, predictor variables in the verbal DT accounted for 40–58% of the variance in PF skills, whereas predictor variables in the figural DT accounted for 28–37% of the variance in PF skills. As suggested by experts in the field of PF, the role of flexibility in PF is a fertile area to be considered in future studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number671146
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
StatePublished - Jul 22 2021


  • creativity
  • divergent thinking
  • flexibility
  • fluency
  • ill-structured problems
  • originality
  • problem finding
  • task nature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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