The Teaching of Creativity to Preschool Children

The Behavior Analysis Approach
  • Elizabeth M. Goetz
Part of the Perspectives on Individual Differences book series (PIDF)


The presentation of the behavior analysis approach for the teaching of creativity to preschool children requires many subtopics. As a starting point, it will be a fruitful exercise to delineate the obvious differences between the behavior analysis and traditional approaches to training creativity so the reader may be aware of the path to be taken. Before trod-ding down this path, mention will be made of some other professionals who share with behavior analysts a belief in the early training of creativity, though they have chosen to take different paths.


Preschool Child Form Diversity Stimulus Control Discriminative Stimulus Early Childhood Education 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Baer, D. M., Rowbury, T. G., & Goetz, E. M. (1976). The preschool as a behavioral trap: A proposal for research (pp. 3—Google Scholar
  2. 27).
    Minnesota Symposium on Learning. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  3. Baker, J. E., & Winston, A. S. (1985). Children’s creative drawing: Experimental analysis and social validation of a self-instructional procedure. Education and Treatment of Children, 8, 115–132.Google Scholar
  4. Ballard, K. D., & Glynn, T. (1975). Behavioral self-management in story-writing with elementary school children. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 8, 387–398.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Berliner, D. C. (1985). Effective classroom teaching: The necessary but not sufficient condition for developing exemplary schools. In G. R. Austin & H. Garber (Eds.), Research on exemplary schools (pp. 127–151 ). Orlando, FL: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  6. Bijou, S. W. (1976). Child development: The basic stage of early childhood. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall. Bloom, B. S. (Ed.). ( 1985 ). Developing talent in young people. New York: Ballantine Books.Google Scholar
  7. Bushell, D., Jr., & Dorsey, D. (1985). Behavioral models of teaching. In T. Husen & T. N. Postlewaite (Eds.), The international encyclopedia of education (pp. 437–442 ). New York: Pergamon.Google Scholar
  8. Day, W. F. (1969). On certain similarities between the philosophical investigations of Ludwig Wittgenstein and the operationism of B. F. Skinner. Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 12, 489–506.Google Scholar
  9. Della-Piana, G. M. (1978). Research strategies for the study of revision processes in writing poetry. In C. R. Cooper & L. Odell (Eds.), Research on composing: Points of departure (pp. 105–134 ). Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English.Google Scholar
  10. Elliott, C., & Goetz, E. M. (1971). Creative blockbuilding as a function of social reinforcement using an unrestrictive creativity code. Unpublished manuscript, University of Kansas.Google Scholar
  11. Fallon, M. P., & Goetz, E. M. (1975). The creative teacher: The effects of descriptive social reinforcement upon the drawing behavior of three preschool children. School Applications of Learning Theory, 7 (2), 27–45.Google Scholar
  12. Figgs, S., & Herbert, E. (1971). The effects of training, primes and social reinforcement on creativity in blockbuilding. Unpublished manuscript, University of Kansas.Google Scholar
  13. Figgs, S., Dunn, J., & Herbert, E. (1971). The effects of primes on creativity in blockbuilding. Unpublished manuscript, University of Kansas.Google Scholar
  14. Flavell, J. H. (1986). The development of children’s knowledge about the appearance-reality distinction. American Psychologist, 41, 418–425.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Fowler, S. A., & Baer, D. M. (1981). Do I have to be good today? The timing of delayed reinforcement as a factor in generalization. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 14, 1324.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Funderbunk, F. R. (1976). Reinforcement control of classroom creativity. In T. Brigham (Ed.), Behavior analysis in education: Self-control and reading (pp. 197–204 ). Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt.Google Scholar
  17. Ghiselin, B. (Ed.). (1952). The creative process. New York: Mentor Books.Google Scholar
  18. Glover, J. A., & Sautter, F. (1977). Procedures for increasing four behaviorally defined components of creativity within formal written assignments among high school students. School Applications of Learning Theory, 9, 3–22.Google Scholar
  19. Goetz, E. M. (1981). The effects of minimal praise on the creative blockbuilding of three-year-olds. Child Study Journal, 11, 55–67.Google Scholar
  20. Goetz, E. M. (1982a). Behavior principles and techniques. In K. E. Allen & E. M. Goetz (Eds.), Early childhood education: Special problems, special solutions (pp. 31–76 ). Rockville, MD: Aspen Systems.Google Scholar
  21. Goetz, E. M. (1982b). A review of functional analyses of preschool children’s creative behaviors. Education and Treatment of Children, 5, 157–177.Google Scholar
  22. Goetz, E. M., & Baer, D. M. (1971). Social reinforcement of creative blockbuilding by young children. In G. A. Ramp & B. L. Hopkins (Eds.), A new direction for education: Behavior analysis (pp. 72–79 ). Lawrence, KS, University of Kansas Press.Google Scholar
  23. Goetz, E. M., & Baer, D. M. (1973). Social control of form diversity and the emergence of new forms in children’s block-building. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 6, 209–217.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Glover, J. A., & Gary, A. L. (1976). Procedures to increase some aspects of creativity. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 9, 79–84.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Goetz, E. M., & Salmonson, M. N. (1972). The effect of general and descriptive reinforcement on “creativity” in easel painting. In G. B. Semb (Ed.), Behavior analysis in education (pp. 53–61 ). Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas Press.Google Scholar
  26. Hendrick, J. (1975). The whole child: New trends in early education. St. Louis: C. V. Mosby.Google Scholar
  27. Hendrick, J. (1980). Total learning for the whole child. St. Louis: C. V. Mosby.Google Scholar
  28. Holman, J., Goetz, E. M., & Baer, D. M. (1977). The training of creativity as an operant and an examination of its generalization characteristics. In B. C. Etzel, J. M. LeBlanc, & D. M. Baer (Eds.), New directions in behavioral research: Theory, methods and applications. In honor of Sidney W. Bijou (pp. 441–472 ). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  29. Horowitz, F. D., & O’Brien, M. (1986). Gifted and talented children: State of knowledge and directions for research. American Psychologist, 41, 1147–1152.Google Scholar
  30. Juan, S. (1985). The Yoki Gakuen: The Suzuki philosophy in the preschool. Childhood Education, 62, 38–39.Google Scholar
  31. Katz, L. G. (1985). Dispositions in early childhood education. ERIC/EECE Bulletin, 18(2), 1, 3.Google Scholar
  32. Kohler, F. W., & Greenwood, C. R. (1986). Toward a technology of generalization: The identification of natural contingencies of reinforcement. Behavior Analysis, 9, 19–26.Google Scholar
  33. Lane, T. W., Lane, M. Z., Friedman, B. S., Goetz, E. M., & Pinkston, E. M. (1982). A creativity enhancement program for preschool children in an inner city parent-child center. In A. M. Pinkston, J. L. Levitt, G. R. Green, N. L. Linsk, & T. L. Rzepnicki (Eds.), Effective social work practice: Advanced techniques for behavioral intervention with individuals, families, and institutional staff (pp. 435–441 ). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  34. Lavatelli, C. S. (1970). Piaget’s theory applied to an early childhood curriculum. Boston: Center for Media Development. _Google Scholar
  35. Maloney, K. B., & Hopkins, B. L. (1973). The modification of sentence structure and its relationship to subjective judgements of creativity in writings. Journal of Applied Behavioral Analysis, 6, 425–433.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Maloney, K. B., Jacobson, C. R., & Hopkins, B. L. (1973). An analysis of the effects of lectures, requests, teacher praise, and free time on the creative writing behaviors of third grade children. In E. Ramp & G. Semb (Eds.), Behavior analysis: Areas of research and application (pp. 244–260 ). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  37. Maltzman, I., Bogartz, W., & Breger, L. (1958). A procedure for increasing word association originality and its transfer effects. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 56, 39 2398.Google Scholar
  38. Montessori, M. (1964). The Montessori method. New York: Schocken Books.Google Scholar
  39. Osborn, A. F. (1953). Applied imagination. New York: Scribner’s.Google Scholar
  40. Parsonson, B. S., & Baer, D. M. (1978). Training generalized improvisation of tools by preschool children. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 11, 363–380.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Reese, N. M., & LeBlanc, J. M. (1970). Creative dance: Pilot study. Unpublished research, University of Kansas.Google Scholar
  42. Rogers-Warren, A., & Baer, D. M. (1976). Correspondence between saying and doing: Teaching children to share to praise. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 9, 335–354.Google Scholar
  43. Romero, P. M., Holt, W. J., Stella, M. E., Baer, D. M., & Etzel, B. C. (1978, August). Contingency effects of reinforced and unreinforced forms: Cube design complexity. Paper presented at the American Psychological Association, Toronto, Canada.Google Scholar
  44. Ryan, B. A., & Winston, A. S. (1978). Dimensions of creativity in children’s drawings: A social validation study. Journal of Educational Psychology, 70, 651–656.Google Scholar
  45. Skinner, B. F. (1957). Verbal behavior. New York: AppletonCentury-Crofts.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Sloane, H. N., Endo, G. T., & Della-Piana, G. (1980). Creative behavior. Behavior Analyst, 3, 11–22.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. Stokes, T. F., & Baer, D. M. (1977). An implicit technology of generalization. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 10, 349–368.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Torrance, E. P. (1962). Guiding creative talent. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Torrance, E. P. (1965). Rewarding creative behavior: Experiments in classroom creativity. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  50. Torrance, E. P. (1980a). Lessons about giftedness and creativity from a nation of 115 million overachievers. Gifted Child Quarterly, 24, 10–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Torrance, E. P. (1980b). Creativity and futurism in education: Retooling. Education, 100, 298–311.Google Scholar
  52. Torrance, E. P. (1982). Education for quality circles in Japanese schools. Journal of Research and Development in Education, 15 (2), 11–15.Google Scholar
  53. Wallach, M. A. (1985). Creativity testing and giftedness. In F. D. Horowitz & M. O’Brien (Eds.), The gifted and talented: Developmental perspectives (pp. 99–123 ). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Wallach, M. A., & Kogan, N. (1965). Modes of thinking in young children. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston. Winston, A. S. (1984, August). Beyond reinforcement of novelty. In A. S. Winston & E. M. Goetz (Chairs), Current issues in the study of creativity as operant behavior. Symposium conducted at the meeting of the American Psychological Association, Toronto, Canada.Google Scholar
  55. Winston, A. S., & Baker, J. E. (1985). Behavior analytic studies of creativity: A critical review. Behavior Analyst, 8, 191205.Google Scholar
  56. Wolf, M. M. (1978). Social validity: The case for subjective measurement or how applied behavior analysis is finding heart. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 11, 203–214.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elizabeth M. Goetz
    • 1
  1. 1.The Edna A. Hill Child Development Laboratory Preschools, Department of Human DevelopmentUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA

Personalised recommendations