Faculty Publications

Creativity Of Third Graders’ Leadership Cartoons: Comparison Of Mood-Enhanced To Neutral Conditions

Document Type



Cartoons, Creativity, Elementary students, Mood

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Thinking Skills and Creativity



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Research on mood related to subsequent creativity is sparse for samples of children. The current study was conducted to determine the effects of positive mood induction through upbeat music and simulated laughter on creativity. Fourteen gifted third grade students (9 female, 5 male; 10 White, 3 African American, 1 Native American; aged 8–9 years) from a low-socio-economic urban public school in the Midwest participated in the repeated-measures study with two trials in the control and two trials in the experimental conditions. Each lesson began with wordplay work in making a layout of word cards, definition cards, and objects to show homophone or words with multiple meanings concepts. Students analyzed humorous cartoons related to leadership that the researchers had made. Finally, students used paper images and wrote in speech bubbles to create their own leadership cartoons. During the experimental condition, two mood-lifting activities were added: students listened to a couple of minutes of upbeat instrumental music as they gathered for the class and later, before cartoon production occurred, they participated in simulated laughter for thirty seconds. Results showed that cartoons produced during the experimental condition contained more humor, were more original, and had greater fluency of speech or thought bubbles with very large, large, and medium effect sizes respectively. Greater creativity is attributed to positive mood allowing more working memory for complex synthesis of ideas, recognition of more diverse ideas, and a safe environment for taking creative risks.


Department of Curriculum and Instruction

Original Publication Date


DOI of published version



UNI ScholarWorks, Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa