Image of Ellis Paul Torrance

Photos courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Ellis Paul Torrance (1055)

Creativity, education of the gifted, educational, future studies, school psychology
1915, Milledgeville, Georgia, USA
Short Biography
Ellis Paul Torrance (October 8, 1915 - July 12, 2003) was an American psychologist from Milledgeville, Georgia. After completing his undergraduate degree at Mercer University, Torrance acquired a Master's degree at the University of Minnesota and then a ... Show more | More at Wikipedia
  • BA Mercer University, 1940
  • MS University of Minnesota, 1944
  • PhD University of Michigan, 1951
Appointments & Honors
  • Alumni Foundation Distinguished Professor of Educational Psychology (retired), University of Georgia
  • Trustee, Creative Education Foundation
  • TAG, CEC, Distinguished Contributions Award, 1973
  • NAGC Distinguished Scholar, 1974-
  • CEF Founder's Medal, 1979
  • Fellow, National Academy of Physical Education, 1979
  • NAAE, Award for contributions to· art education, 1980
  • Arthur Lipper Award for contributions to human creativity, 1982
  • Hall of Fame, National Association of Creative Children and Adults, 1985
  • Series Editor, Mentors (Bearly)
  • Guest Editor, Journal of Research and Development in Education, 4(3), 1971, 12(3), 1979
  • Editorial Board, Journal of Creative Behavior, Gifted Child Quarterly, Creative Child and Adult Quarterly, Gifted Children Newsletter, Highlights for Children, Journal of Research and Development in Education, La Educacion Hoy, Education Digest, Journal of Humanistic Education, Journal of Group Psychotherapy
  • Psychodrama, Sociometry Principal publications . 1962 Guiding Creative Talent. Prentice Hall. 1963 Education and the Creative Potential. University of Minnesota Press. 1965 Constructive Behavior: Stress, Personality and Mental Health. Wadsworth. 1969 Search for Satori and Creativity. Creative Education Foundation. 1972 Can we teach children to think creatively? Journal of Creative Behavior, 6, 114-43. 1972 Career patterns and peak creative achievements of creative high school students twelve years later. Gifted Child Quarterly, 16, 75-88. 1975 Sociodrama as a creative problem solving approach to studying the future. Journal of Creative Behavior, 9, 182-95. 1976 Creativity in mental health. In S. Arieti and Chrzanowski (eds), New Dimensions in Psychiatry, vol. 2. Basic Books. 1979 An instructional model for enhancing incubation. Journal of Creative Behavior, 13, 23-35. 1981 Predicting the creativity of elementary school children (1958-1980). Gifted Child Quarterly, 25, 55-62. 1984 Mentor Relationships: How they Aid Creative Achievement, Endure, Change and Die. Bearly. 1984 The role of creativity in the identification of the gifted and talented. Gifted Child Quarterly, 28, 153-6. 1986 Teaching creative and gifted learners. In M.C. Wittrock (ed.), Handbook of Research on Teaching (3rd edn). Macmillan. Further reading Gage, N.L. and Berliner, D.C. (1992) Educational Psychology. Houghton Mifflin. Torrance, E.P. (1984) Some products of twenty five years of creativity research. Educational Perspectives, 22, 3-8. Torrance's early interests were in issues to do with stress and survival, but this work attracted relatively little attention. His greatest impact is associated with his considerable corpus of work on creativity. His primary achievements can be listed as follows. (1) He developed and refined a battery of tests of creative thinking ability which have enjoyed wide use. (2) He discovered that the developmental characteristics of most creative thinking abilities are different from those involved in intelligence tests and logical reasoning tests. (3) He showed that the common 'fourthgrade slump' in creativity could be offset through intelligent use of instructional materials. (4) He showed that the use of intelligence tests to identify gifted students misses about 70 per cent of those who are equally gifted creatively. (5) He found that children identified as creatively gifted, but who fall short of the IQ cutoff for gifted classification (e.g. IQ of 130), tend to out-achieve as adults those who meet the IQ criterion of giftedness and fail to meet creativity criteria of giftedness. (6) Having a mentor is significantly related to adult creative achievement. (7) Having a childhood future career image - 'being in love with something' - and persisting with it is related significantly to adult creative achievement. (8) Having certain teachers in elementary school increases one's chances of adult creative achievement. (9) Creative thinking ability tests appear to have little racial or socioeconomic status bias. (10) Children in emotionally handicapped classes display more creative strengths than national norms. (11) A variety of technologies for training in creative problem solving produces creative growth without interfering with other kinds of educational achievement. In addition to making these substantive and enduring contributions, Torrance founded the Future Problem Solving Program which has grown into a US national and international programme, and the International Network of Gifted Children and their Teachers. He has also been responsible for the introduction of an instructional model for enhancing incubation and creativity, and for the implementation of the model on a large scale through the Ginn Reading 360 and 720 Programmes.