The effect of evaluative and metaphorical instructions on divergent thinking

John William Fite, Tennessee State University


The present investigation examined the impact of instructional sets emphasizing either response fluency, appropriateness of response, a metaphor designed to increase flexibility in word meanings or a metaphor designed to affect procedural knowledge in finding new ideas. Each subject completed both traditional and realistic divergent thinking tasks (problem generation and problem solution tasks) as well as an inventory of thinking styles, and a measure of metaphor comprehension. Results indicated differences in response fluency according to task type but not instructional set. Traditional tasks were associated with highest fluency scores followed by problem generation and problem solution tasks. Problem generation originality scores were greater than traditional task scores. Regression analyses suggested that age and GPA predicted responses for both fluency and originality. Ratings of interest in the experiment predicted originality while convergent thinking style scores were predictors of fluency. Metaphor comprehension was correlated with originality for traditional tasks for instructional groups emphasizing response appropriateness and metaphoric procedures to find new ideas. Results are discussed in terms of Runco and Chand's (1995) cognitive theory of divergent thinking. Implications for counseling include the use of metaphor in psychotherapy and the role of divergent thinking in problem solving. Future research is discussed.

Subject Area

Educational psychology|Curricula|Teaching

Recommended Citation

John William Fite, "The effect of evaluative and metaphorical instructions on divergent thinking" (1997). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI9821868.