Individual differences in children's innovative problem-solving are not predicted by divergent thinking or executive functions

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Colleges, School and Institutes


Recent studies of children's tool innovation have revealed that there is variation in children's success in middle-childhood. In two individual differences studies, we sought to identify personal characteristics that might predict success on an innovation task. In Study 1, we found that although measures of divergent thinking were related to each other they did not predict innovation success. In Study 2, we measured executive functioning including: inhibition, working memory, attentional flexibility and ill-structured problem-solving. None of these measures predicted innovation, but, innovation was predicted by children's performance on a receptive vocabulary scale that may function as a proxy for general intelligence. We did not find evidence that children's innovation was predicted by specific personal characteristics.


Original languageEnglish
Article number20150190
Number of pages11
JournalRoyal Society of London. Proceedings B. Biological Sciences
Issue number1690
Publication statusPublished - 19 Mar 2016


  • innovation, cognitive development, individual differences