Critique of Journal Articles
Pretend Play, Creativity, and Emotion Regulation In Children
Hoffmann and Russ (2012) examined the relationships between pretend play, creativity, emotion regulation, and executive functioning. The researchers suggested that during pretend play, the children exhibited cognitive, affective, and interpersonal processes. Studies have shown that pretend play is associated to being creative, in that, children who are more imaginative and affective during pretend play are also divergent thinkers. To further explore this relationship, the researchers recruited students from a private all-girls school to participate in this study (Hoffmann & Russ, 2012). Participants were administered several measures to assess their capacity to exhibit cognitive and affective play processes. Researchers used the affect in play scale, alternate uses task, and story telling task to rate the children’s creativity. In addition, they used the Emotion Regulation Checklist (ERC) to measure the children’s regulation of their emotions; the short form of the Wisconsin Card Sorting Task as a measurement of their executive functioning; and the vocabulary subtest of Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC-IV) to assess the children’s verbal ability (Hoffmann & Russ, 2012).
A Pearson product-moment correlation was conducted to test whether a correlation existed among pretend play, creativity, emotion regulation, and executive functioning. The results indicated that pretend play is correlated with creativity (Hoffman & Russ, 2012). The researchers found that the children who were more imaginative during play and had more organized stories were better divergent thinkers. Furthermore, they found that those who were rated high in divergent thinking also scored high in affect. The children who were found to be more comfortable during a play task were also found to have high emotion regulation. Researchers did not find significant findings when testing for executive functions during pretend play due to the development of problem-solving and inhibition skills (Hoffmann & Russ, 2012). They also found no correlations between emotion regulation and executive functioning.
Hoffmann and Russ (2012) noted several limitations in their research study. First, the sample in their study is limited to girls who came from a private school and who passed the admissions test. The results cannot be generalized to male students or to those with low socioeconomic status. Second, the results of the study emphasize the correlation between pretend play, creativity, and executive functioning but not its causation (Hoffmann & Russ, 2012). Further research is necessary to examine whether gender discrepancies exist and whether developmental trends exist. Future findings may promote the enhancement of children’s play skills to develop creativity, divergent thinking, and better emotion regulation.
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