A Multifaceted Approach to Measure Creativity across Cultures: The Role of the Centrality of Context in Divergent Thinking Tasks

Tal Ivancovsky, Simone Shamay-Tsoory, Joo Lee, Hiroaki Morio, Jenny Kurman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Creativity is a multifaceted construct, yet traditionally measured as divergent thinking (DT) with originality as its main focus. As originality tends to be discouraged in East Asian cultures, this measurement discrepancy is especially problematic in cross-cultural studies. Given cultural variations in the centrality of context, in the current study we added two context-dependent dimensions to frequently used DT tasks: a holism dimension to Torrance repeated circles subscale and a usefulness dimension to the Alternates Uses Task (AUT). In Study 1, South Korean and Israeli students completed the Torrance subscale. As hypothesized, while Israelis evinced higher DT ability, Koreans demonstrated a holistic approach. In Study 2, Japanese and Israeli students completed the AUT. Once again, Israelis evinced higher DT ability. Although no significant difference was found on the usefulness dimension, within-culture analysis indicated that relative to the DT dimensions (originality, flexibility, fluency), usefulness was the highest score among Japanese and the lowest among Israelis. Furthermore, in both studies the “Eastern” dimensions loaded on a separate factor than the DT dimensions, implying that they might represent distinct facets of creativity. We propose that adopting a multifaceted approach, offers a unique opportunity for understanding creativity in general and in a cross-cultural context in particular.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1028-1046
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Creative Behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by the Israel Science Foundation (ISF), project no. 1296/12.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Creative Education Foundation(CEF)


  • assessment
  • centrality of context
  • creativity
  • cross-cultural differences
  • divergent thinking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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