When children play, they often do so in very original ways. However, with the responsibilities of adulthood, this playful curiosity is sometimes lost and conventional responses often result. In the present study, 76 undergraduates were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 conditions before creative performance was assessed in a version of the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking (TTCT; E. P. Torrance, 1974). In a control condition, participants wrote about what they would do if school was cancelled for the day. In an experimental condition, the instructions were identical except that participants were to imagine themselves as 7-year-olds in this situation. Individuals imagining themselves as children subsequently produced more original responses on the TTCT. Further results showed that the manipulation was particularly effective among more introverted individuals, who are typically less spontaneous and more inhibited in their daily lives. The results thus establish that there is a benefit in thinking like a child to subsequent creative originality, particularly among introverted individuals. The discussion links the findings to mindset factors, play and spontaneity, and relevant personality processes.
Zabelina, D. L., & Robinson, M. D. (2010). Child’s play: Facilitating the originality of creative output by a priming manipulation. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 4(1), 57.