Concomitants of Playfulness in Early Childhood: Cognitive Abilities and Gender

Lmn A. Barnett, Douglas A. Kleiber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Previous research has noted a corresponding relationship between young children’s play and divergent thinking ability. This research confounds intelligence factors and divergent thought processes and does not take into account sex differences, which have been shown to be pervasive in preschool children’s play patterns. This original research is replicated with 92 preschool children who are rated on five components of playfulness, and then administered a battery of standardized tests assessing verbal ‘intelligence and divergent thinking ability. Results were consistent with those found in the original investigation, yet differences emerged when the intelligence factor was partitioned from the analysis. Sex differences were found to mediate this result, with girls showing a positive relationship between play and divergent thinking and boys showing an inverse, and in some cases, absence of a relationship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-127
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Genetic Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1982
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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