Psychological and Environmental Predictors of Student Imagination: The Mediating Role of Generative Cognition

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Yu-Ling Hsu

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National Taiwan Normal University Department of Technology Application and Human Resource Development


This study aimed to explore what psychological and environmental influences stimulated imagination in education major university students. In addition, it was assessed to what degree these influences had on student imagination. The participants in this study were two groups of students from eight education programs. Sample one (n = 402) served as the calibration sample for testing the most appropriate structures of imaginative capability scale and psychological/environmental influence scales, using exploratory factor analysis. Sample two (n = 380) served as the validation sample using confirmatory factor analysis for validating the factor structure from sample one, and establishing the predictive model. The results of this study supported that imagination consists of nine capabilities, namely crystallization, effectiveness, elaboration, exploration, intuition, novelty, productivity, transformation, and sensibility. The psychological influences regarding imagination stimulation were comprised of six factors, namely: intrinsic motivation, self-efficacy, inspiration through action, stress, emotion, and generative cognition. The environmental influences of imagination-stimulation were composed of four factors, namely: social climate, organizational measure, physical component, and human aggregate. The hypothesis of the study that generative cognition plays a mediating role on imagination-stimulation was partially supported. The structural model also showed that variables of intrinsic motivation, emotion, self-efficacy, and organizational measure have significant, indirect effects on imagination.