Effects of Imagery Training on the Creative Writing of Academically Gifted Elementary Students.
The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of guided imagery on gifted students' creative writing and vividness of imagery. Subjects were 126 academically gifted third and fourth grade students enrolled in eight self-contained classes at three elementary schools. Prior to treatments, they were stratified by high and low creativity levels and then randomly assigned to an imagery training group, a writing practice group, or a control group within stratification levels. Assessment materials included the same pretest, immediate posttest, and delayed posttest tasks: (a) a vividness of imagery survey, and (b) creative writing samples, including three pictures as writing stimuli. Instructional materials included: (a) five training passages and five pictures for the imagery group, (b) five short stories and the same five pictures for the writing group, and (c) library projects for the control group. The experiment consisted of nine sessions; the first eight were one week apart while the ninth was a month later. In session 1, subjects were administered a test for creativity; in session 2, they completed the pretest writing sample. Then, for the next five sessions, the treatment groups completed different activities. The imagery group was guided in creating mental images based on the descriptive passages, followed by a creative writing task. The writing group listened to short stories and then completed the same writing assignment. The control group participated in individual projects designated by the classroom teachers. During sessions 8 and 9, subjects again completed the imagery survey and creative writing posttests. Based on repeated measures ANOVAs, results showed that aspects of these subjects' creativity were enhanced. On the imagery survey, all subjects gained in vividness of imagery across the three testing periods. On the creative writing, the high creative and imagery treatment subjects generally outscored other subjects on originality, story length, and use of sensory descriptions across time. Further, descriptive analyses showed that all groups emphasized story structure in their writings, as well as included more visual and kinesthetic descriptions. These findings support the premise that guided imagery can be used to effectively enhance gifted elementary students' creativity.