Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


This study investigated three lines of research and their interrelationship involving the development of perceptual non-rigidity in children. Perceptual non-rigidity was defined as an individual's ability to perceive an ambiguous stimulus in a variety of ways. The three lines of research involve susceptibility to illusions, research based on Piagetian theory, and creativity. The literature suggested that susceptibility to illusions generally increased with age in children. Piagetian research indicated that children develop the ability to make deductive inferences and generate multiple hypotheses with advancing age, and thus may be more susceptible to visual illusions as they grow older. Literature dealing with chronological age and creativity indicated that creativity tends to decrease with age. It was suggested that this decrease may be due to the stifling effects of education. However, these findings have not shown consistent linear trends with age. Creativity in college students was shown to be correlated with susceptibility to reversal illusions. The primary hypothesis of this study was that a total flexibility score, made up of equally weighted scores from illusion tasks (Necker cube and a modified version of The Embedded Figures Test). Piagetian tasks (chemical and rods tasks), and creativity tasks (the Picture Completion subtest of the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking and two gestalt type problems), would increase with chronological age. A significant positive correlation between the scores of two subtests from each line of research (illusions, Piagetian research, and creativity) was also expected. Eighty-five children (52 who ranged in age from 7 years 1 month to 9 years 1 month and 33 who ranged in age from 10 years 2 months to 11 years 11 months) were recruited to serve as subjects. They participated in two illusion tasks, two Piagetian tasks, and two creativity tasks. The data were analyzed with Pearson Product Moment Correlations. There was a significant positive correlation between age and the total flexibility score (r = 0.4272, p <= 0.001). The number of Necker cube reversals was significantly correlated with the score of The Embedded Figures Test (r = 0. 2217, p <=0.021). A significant positive correlation was found between a Piagetian flexibility score and the Piagetian chemical score (r = 0.7455, p<= 0.001). There was a significant positive correlation between the Picture Completion subtest of the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking and whether or not the Subject gave a creative response to the gestalt problem (r = 0.2647, p<= 0.007), as well as the number of clues the Subject needed to complete the gestalt problem (r = 0.4574, p <= 0.001). Other significant correlations were discussed.


Cameron Camp

Date of Award

Spring 1983

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access


© 1983 Julie Neutzman


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