Article | Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin | 1984

Children's Artistic Creativity: Effects of Choice in Task Materials

by T. M. Amabile and J. Gitomer


Preschool boys and girls made collages using a subset of a large array of materials. Half of the children were allowed to choose those materials they would use. For the rest of the children, the choice was made by the experimenter. Children in the no-choice condition were yoked to those in the choice condition by the specific materials they were given. The collages made by children given a choice of materials were judged by a group of artists as significantly higher in creativity than those made by children given no choice. These results support the hypothesis that unconstrained choice in task approach can be conducive to creativity, whereas constrained choice can be detrimental.

Keywords: Creativity; Early Childhood Education; Social Psychology; Decision Choices and Conditions;


Amabile, T. M., and J. Gitomer. "Children's Artistic Creativity: Effects of Choice in Task Materials." Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin 10 (1984): 209–215.