Effects of creative and noncreative problem-solving on anxiety
Riedel, Helmut P. R.
Master of Arts
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This study investigated whether the type of problem involved in creative performance increases anxiety level to a greater extent than the type of problem involved in noncreative performance. Subjects were 9 male and 48 female undergraduate Psychology students, selected from a voluntary subject pool, and randomly assigned to either a divergent creative problem-solving (CPS) condition, a convergent noncreative problem-solving (NCPS) condition, or a control condition involving a passive neutral problemsolving (NPS) task. The Spielberger State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) was administered to each group before and after the experimental conditions. The study tested two opposing hypotheses: (n) "the view held by many humanistic psychologists that creative activity increases anxiety and (b) the psychoanalytic prediction that creative activity decreases anxiety. A subsidiary hypothesis was that (c) trait anxiety would not change significantly. The results showed that there was no significant pre to post increase in state anxiety for the creative divergent problem-solving group but that the other two groups did manifest significant increases in state anxiety. Trait anxiety remained stable throughout the groups. These results were interpreted in favour of the psychoanalytic hypothesis with the reservation that tasks more challenging for the student subjects in this study might have produced more anxiety than the creative divergent task employed. Suggestions for future research were made.