Divergent thinking in arts and science students: The effect of item content



Two four-item tests of divergent thinking were developed. Both included the item types: uses, similarities, consequences and instances. The first test concerned non-scientific objects while the second concerned objects that were of specific interest to engineers. One hundred and thirty-nine engineering students and 94 business studies students took both tests. Using a fluency measure of divergent thinking it was shown that item content has a significant effect on divergent production. The result casts doubt on the validity of previous studies which have found that arts students are better able to think divergently than science students.