Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Donald J. Leu, James C. Kaufman, Ronald A. Beghetto

Field of Study

Educational Psychology


Master of Arts

Open Access

Open Access


This study examined, on a preliminary basis, the role of diversity of academic major in influencing individual and group divergent thinking. Prior studies on diversity provide evidence that working with diverse individuals can make groups more productive in generating creative ideas. Diversity of academic major is an important element of group diversity that has not been sufficiently studied. This study provided direction for future research to help us understand the ways that diversity may influence creative thinking as well as enrich the school curriculum. A total of 56 graduate students from University of Connecticut were recruited to study this issue. The Alternate Uses Test was used to obtain the divergent thinking score, which is an essential indicator of creative thinking of individuals and groups. The scores on three outcomes of divergent thinking (fluency, flexibility and originality) were collected to analyze if students in diverse academic major groups work better than those in non-diverse academic major groups. The results show that groups with divergent majors, perform more effectively on the originality score for both individual tasks and the group creativity task, compared to groups with common majors. The groups with divergent majors also appeared to have a significant higher mean fluency score during group activity compared to the groups with common major. In addition, the results demonstrate that groups with different majors and groups with common majors performed differently through different time series during group activity. Results indicated that the diversity of majors in group can make individual and group more productive in generating novel ideas.

Major Advisor

Donald J. Leu