The Creative Thinking Ability of Musicians and Nonmusicians Academic Article uri icon


  • 2014 American Psychological Association. The purpose of this study was to determine if involvement in an instrumental performance group had any relationship to one's's capacity and ability to think creatively across a variety of standardized creativity assessment measures. Participants (n = 75) were undergraduate students at a major research university enrolled in either an instrumental performing ensemble or an educational psychology class. Creative thinking skills were assessed via the administration of 2 tests: Thinking Creatively with Sounds and Words (TCSW; Torrance, Khatena & Cunnington, 1973), Form A, Level II and the Abbreviated Torrance Test for Adults (ATTA; Goff & Torrance, 2002). Analysis indicated that a significant difference (p < .05) between groups existed, with musicians scoring higher (M = 23.60, SD = 6.96) than the nonmusicians (M = 20.12, SD = 6.92) on the TCSW. No significant difference (p > .05) was found between groups on the ATTA, with musicians (M = 5.55, SD = 2.89) and nonmusicians (M = 5.12, SD = 3.01) having statistically similar scores. The results of these examinations indicate that musicians score significantly higher on general creativity assessments than nonmusicians when the tests involve the use of sound stimuli to elicit original responses. However, when the general creativity assessments involve only the use of words and imagery, there are no significant differences between the 2 groups.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 1

author list (cited authors)

  • Woodward, J., & Sikes, P. L.

citation count

  • 11

complete list of authors

  • Woodward, Jay||Sikes, Paul L

publication date

  • January 2015