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Abstract

People often reject creative ideas, even when espousing creativity as a desired goal. To explain this paradox, we propose that people can hold a bias against creativity that is not necessarily overt and that is activated when people experience a motivation to reduce uncertainty. In two experiments, we manipulated uncertainty using different methods, including an uncertainty-reduction prime. The results of both experiments demonstrated the existence of a negative bias against creativity (relative to practicality) when participants experienced uncertainty. Furthermore, this bias against creativity interfered with participants' ability to recognize a creative idea. These results reveal a concealed barrier that creative actors may face as they attempt to gain acceptance for their novel ideas.
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Articles and Chapters ILR Collection
1-1-2011
e Bias Against Creativity: Why People Desire
But Reject Creative Ideas
Jennifer S. Mueller
University of Pennsylvania
Shimul Melwani
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Jack A. Goncalo
Cornell University, jag97@cornell.edu
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Mueller, Jennifer S.; Melwani, Shimul; and Goncalo, Jack A., "e Bias Against Creativity: Why People Desire But Reject Creative
Ideas" (2011). Articles and Chapters. Paper 450.
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Bias Against Creativity
1
Running head: BIAS AGAINST CREATIVITY
The bias against creativity: Why people desire but reject creative ideas
Jennifer S. Mueller
University of Pennsylvania
Shimul Melwani
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Jack A. Goncalo
Cornell University
Keywords: Creativity, bias
**In press at Psychological Science.
Acknowledgements: This idea behind this paper was inspired by Barry Staw’s chapter, “Why No
One Really Wants Creativity.” We would also like to thank the following people for their
insights and help in developing this paper: Jeff Lowenstein, Matthew Cronin and Jennifer
Whitson.
Bias Against Creativity
2
Abstract
People often reject creative ideas even when espousing creativity as a desired goal. To explain
this paradox, we propose that people can hold a bias against creativity that is not necessarily
overt, and which is activated when people experience a motivation to reduce uncertainty. In two
studies, we measure and manipulate uncertainty using different methods including: discrete
uncertainty feelings, and an uncertainty reduction prime. The results of both studies
demonstrated a negative bias toward creativity (relative to practicality) when participants
experienced uncertainty. Furthermore, the bias against creativity interfered with participants’
ability to recognize a creative idea. These results reveal a concealed barrier that creative actors
may face as they attempt to gain acceptance for their novel ideas.
Bias Against Creativity
3
Do people desire creative ideas? Most scholars would propose that the answer to this
question is an obvious ‘yes,’ asserting that creativity is the engine of scientific discovery
(Hennessey & Amabile, 2010), the fundamental driving force of positive change (George, 2007),
and associated with intelligence, wisdom, and moral goodness (Niu & Sternberg, 2006;
Sternberg, 1985). However, while people strongly endorse this positive view of creativity,
scholars have long been puzzled by the finding that organizations, scientific institutions, and
decisions-makers routinely reject creative ideas even when espousing creativity as an important
goal (Ford & Gioia, 2000; Staw, 1995; West, 2002). Similarly, research documents that teachers
dislike students who exhibit curiosity and creative thinking even though teachers acknowledge
creativity as an important educational goal (Dawson, D'Andrea, Affinito, & Westby, 1999;
Runco, 1989; Westby & Dawson, 1995). We offer a new perspective to explain this puzzle. Just
as people have deeply-rooted biases against people of a certain age, race or gender that are not
necessarily overt (Greenwald & Banaji, 1995), so too can people hold deeply-rooted negative
views of creativity that are not openly acknowledged. Revealing the existence and nature of a
bias against creativity can help explain why people might reject creative ideas and stifle
scientific advancement, even in the face of strong intentions to the contrary.
Creative ideas are both novel and useful (Hennessey & Amabile, 2010), and novelty is
the key distinguishing feature of creativity beyond ideas that are merely well done (Amabile,
Barsade, Mueller, & Staw, 2005). Yet the requirement that creative ideas contain novelty can
also promote a tension in evaluators’ minds when they judge whether to pursue an idea. Indeed,
evaluators have a hard time viewing novelty and practicality as attributes that go hand in hand,
often viewing them as inversely related (Rietzschel, Nijstad, & Stroebe, 2009). There are several
reasons why. Practical ideas are generally valued (Sanchez-Burks, 2005). However, the more
Bias Against Creativity
4
novel an idea, the more uncertainty can exist about whether an idea is practical, useful, error free,
and reliably reproduced (Amabile, 1996). When endorsing a novel idea, people can experience
failure (Simonton, 1984), perceptions of risk (Rubenson & Runco, 1995), social rejection when
expressing the idea to others (Moscovici, 1976; Nemeth, 1986), and uncertainty about when their
idea will reach completion (Metcalfe, 1986). Uncertainty is an aversive state (Fiske & Taylor,
1991; Heider, 1958) which people feel a strong motivation to diminish and avoid (Whitson &
Galinsky, 2008). Hence, people can also have negative associations with novelty; an attribute at
the heart of what makes ideas creative in the first place.
Although the positive associations with creativity are typically the focus of attention both
among scholars and practitioners, the negative associations may also be activated when people
evaluate a creative idea. For example, research on associative thinking suggests that strong
uncertainty feelings may make the negative attributes of creativity, particularly those related to
uncertainty, more salient (Bower, 1981).
This evaluative process is not necessarily overt, making the bias against creativity
potentially insidious. In fact, there is often strong normative pressure to endorse creative ideas
(Flynn & Chatman, 2001) and a strong social desirability bias against expressing any view of
creativity as negative (Runco, 2010). This resulting state is similar to that identified in research
on racial bias; a conflict between an explicit preference towards creativity and unacknowledged
negative associations with creativity (Gaertner & Dovidio, 1986). In other words, uncovering a
bias against creative ideas requires a method more subtle than simply asking directly. Therefore,
we decided to employ a measure that assesses explicit attitudes in addition to implicit attitudes
which are less susceptible to self-presentation biases and normative pressures (Greenwald,
Poehlman, Uhlmann, & Banaji, 2009). In two studies, we test whether uncertainty measured and
Bias Against Creativity
5
manipulated in two different ways, promotes a greater bias against creativity relative to
practicality. In the second study we investigate whether this bias deters peoples’ ability to
recognize creative ideas.
EXPERIMENT 1
Method
Participants and Design
Participants (N = 73) were randomly assigned to one of two conditions: uncertainty (n =
28) or baseline (n = 45). 51% were men (mean age= 22.74 years). Each participant took an
implicit attitude test (IAT) as well as an explicit attitude test to assess their bias against creativity
relative to practicality.
Procedure and Materials
Participants in the uncertainty condition were told that they might receive additional
payment based on a random lottery (not performance). Participants in the baseline condition
were not given the opportunity to receive extra money. A pilot study (N = 82) verified that the
uncertainty manipulation evoked significantly higher uncertainty feelings than a baseline
condition. All participants took an openness to experience inventory (Costa & McCrae, 1992), a
trait which is highly related to creativity (Feist, 1998).
Participants’ automatic mental associations with creativity versus practicality were
assessed using the Implicit Association Test (IAT) (Greenwald, McGhee, & Schwartz, 1998).
This measure relies on test-takers' speed of response to represent the strength of their mental
associations. The IAT measures participants’ reaction times when rating pairings between an
attitude object (e.g., creativity or practicality) and an evaluative dimension (e.g., good or bad). In
the computerized version of the IAT, this pairing is achieved by using the keyboard (say, a left
Bias Against Creativity
6
key) to be pressed in response to items from the two paired categories, creativity+bad, while
another key (say, the right key) is pressed for the other pair, practicality+good. The speed at
which this pairing is completed compared to opposite pairing is interpreted as a measure of the
strength of the implicit evaluation. Our IAT used words that reflected creativity (e.g. novel,
creative, inventive, original) versus practicality (e.g. practical, functional, constructive, and
useful). In addition our IAT used words that reflected good (rainbow, cake, sunshine, laughter,
peace, heaven) versus bad (vomit, hell, agony, rotten, poison, ugly). The block order was
counterbalanced such that half of the participants performed the creative + good component first,
whereas the other half performed the creative + bad component first. The IAT effect was formed
by subtracting response latencies for the creative + good task from the creative + bad tasks. We
scored the IAT using the D statistic (Greenwald, Nosek, & Banaji, 2003), a method less
influenced by procedural variables, such as order or counterbalancing, as well as cognitive
ability (Cai, Sriram, Greenwald, & McFarland, 2004). The implicit bias score was calculated by
subtracting creativity from practicality attitudes; higher values indicate more bias against
creativity relative to practicality.
Participants also rated their explicit positive and negative associations with creativity and
practicality. Specifically, participants rated their attitudes towards creativity and practicality on a
7-point scale ranging from 1=strongly negative, 4 = neutral, and 7= strongly positive.
Participants assessed attitudes towards creativity (e.g., creative, inventive, original, and novel;
alpha = .77), and practicality (e.g., practical, functional, constructive, useful; alpha = .88).
Participants indicated positive associations (i.e., above the scale mid-point) with both creativity
(M=5.37, SD=.75) and practicality (M=5.43, SD=.91). Explicit bias was calculated by
subtracting creativity from practicality associations (M=.06, SD=.91).
Bias Against Creativity
7
Results and Discussion
Table 1 shows descriptives for all major variables. An ANCOVA controlling for
openness to experience revealed no significant differences in explicit bias when comparing the
high (M=.02, SD=.83) and low uncertainty conditions (M=-.11, SD=.96), F(1, 70)= .07, P=.78.
However a second ANCOVA also controlling for openness to experience revealed that
participants in the uncertainty condition showed an implicit bias against creativity relative to
practicality (M=.15, SD=.54) which significantly differed from participants in the baseline
condition who showed an implicit bias in favor of creativity relative to practicality (M=-.23, SD=
.47), F(1, 70)= 13.13, P=.001; condition accounted for 11% of the variance in implicit bias.
Discussion
Experiment 1 shows that people hold ambivalent attitudes towards creativity. While
participants in the baseline condition evidenced positive implicit associations with creativity
relative to practicality, participants in the uncertainty condition exhibited an implicit bias against
creativity relative to practicality. In Experiment 2 we wished to extend these findings to show
that the motivation to reduce uncertainty when problem solving can activate the creativity bias.
Specifically, scholars propose that effective creative problem solving includes both generating
many novel options and subsequently reducing uncertainty by identifying the single best option
from the set (Cropley, 2006). We propose that this latter orientation towards identifying the
optimal solution may prime an uncertainty reduction motive or intolerance for uncertainty and
thereby evoke the creativity bias. Additionally, we explore whether the creativity bias might also
deter the recognition of a creative idea.
EXPERIMENT 2
Method
Bias Against Creativity
8
Participants and Design
140 undergraduate students (55% female; mean age= 20.66) were randomly assigned to
one of two conditions: high tolerance for uncertainty (n = 70) and low tolerance for uncertainty
(n = 70).
Procedure and Materials
Participants in the high tolerance for uncertainty condition were told to write an essay
supporting the statement, “For every problem, there is more than one correct solution” while
those in the low tolerance for uncertainty condition were asked to write an essay supporting the
statement, “For every problem, there is only one correct solution.” A three item manipulation
check assessed uncertainty when evaluating an idea (e.g., “I feel uncertain about this idea),”
anchors from 1 = not at all, 7 = very much so (alpha = .78). Participants in the low tolerance
condition were significantly more uncertain (M=4.36, SD=1.23) than those in the high tolerance
condition (M= 3.87, SD=1.33; F(1, 133)=5.14, P=.025). After being exposed to the experimental
manipulation, each participant took the same implicit and explicit creativity-practicality bias tests
used in Experiment 1. Subsequently, participants were asked to rate a creative idea which we
pre-tested using a different sample of undergraduates (N = 36) who rated this idea (a running
shoe with nanotechnology that adjusted fabric thickness to cool the foot and reduce blisters) as
being highly creative (M=5.82, SD=.80), novel (M=5.62, SD=1.02), and practical (M=5.85,
SD=.92) on a 7-point scale ranging from 1=not at all to 7=extremely so. Before exposure to the
manipulation, participants also took the openness to experience inventory.
Participants rated the idea using the creativity scale, employing the same six synonyms
for creativity used in both the implicit and explicit bias tests (M=5.41, SD=1.05, alpha=.78).
Results and Discussion
Bias Against Creativity
9
Table 2 shows descriptives for all major variables. An ANCOVA controlling for
openness to experience revealed that participants in the low tolerance for uncertainty condition
were not significantly different in their level of explicit bias against creativity (M= .20, SD=.81)
as compared to participants in the high tolerance condition (M= .22, SD=.94), F(1, 133)= .14,
P=.71. However, a second ANCOVA controlling for openness to experience revealed that
participants in the low uncertainty tolerance condition were more implicitly biased against
creativity relative to practicality (M= .07, SD=.43) than participants in the high uncertainty
tolerance condition (M= -.16, SD=.46), F(1, 133)= 7.87, P=.007, who exhibited positive
associations with creativity relative to practicality. A third ANCOVA controlling for openness to
experience identified that participants in the low tolerance condition rated the idea as less
creative (M= 5.06, SD=1.06) than participants in the high tolerance condition (M= 5.76,
SD=.93), F(1, 137)= 15.48, P=.000.
A hierarchical regression showed that the relationship between experimental condition
and creativity ratings (B = -.64, t (134) = -3.81, p < .001) became less significant when including
implicit bias in the model (B = -.56, t (134) = -3.30, p < .01). A 95% bootstrapped confidence
interval of the indirect effect of condition on creativity ratings through implicit bias did not
include zero [-.24, -.02], demonstrating partial mediation (Preacher & Hayes, 2004). Mediation
analyses controlled for both explicit bias and openness to experience at each step indicating that
relatively low levels of uncertainty tolerance led to higher levels of the implicit bias that in turn
contributed to lower ratings of creativity controlling for participants’ explicit bias and general
openness to experience.
Discussion
Bias Against Creativity
10
Experiment 2 both replicated the finding that uncertainty promotes negative associations
with creativity relative to practicality, and extended this finding by showing that the bias against
creativity interfered with participants’ ability to recognize a creative idea.
GENERAL DISCUSSION
Robert Goddard, the father of modern rocket propulsion, endured ridicule and derision
from his contemporary scientific peers who stated his ideas were ludicrous and impossible. This
example is not unique, and would puzzle creativity theorists as research shows that expert raters
who are themselves creative are even more likely to accurately recognize and assess creativity
(Hennessey, Amabile, & Mueller, 2010; Runco & Smith, 1992). Our results show that regardless
of how open minded people are, when they feel motivated to reduce uncertainty either because
they have an immediate goal of reducing uncertainty, or feel uncertain generally, this may bring
negative associations with creativity to mind which result in lower evaluations of a creative idea.
Our findings imply a deep irony. Prior research shows that uncertainty spurs the search for and
generation of creative ideas (Audia & Goncalo, 2007; Tiedens & Linton, 2001), yet our findings
reveal that uncertainty also makes us less able to recognize creativity, perhaps when we need it
most.
Beyond merely having a preference for the status quo or familiar ideas (Eidelman,
Crandall, & Pattershall, 2009; Zajonc, 2001), our results suggest that people have ambivalent
feelings towards creativity. On one hand, participants in the baseline and uncertainty tolerance
conditions demonstrated positive implicit associations with creativity relative to practicality.
Additionally, 95% of participants in the high uncertainty and uncertainty intolerance conditions
rated their explicit attitudes towards creativity as positive- higher than ‘4’ the mid-point of a 7-
point scale- and statistically equivalent to practicality. On the other hand, the implicit measure
Bias Against Creativity
11
identified that participants in each high uncertainty condition associated words like “vomit,”
“poison,” and “agony,” more so with creativity than practicality. Because there is such a strong
social norm to endorse creativity and people also feel authentic positive attitudes towards
creativity, people may be reluctant to admit that they do not want creativity; hence, the bias
against creativity may be particularly slippery to diagnose. The implicit measures may have
picked up negative associations with creativity under conditions of uncertainty because the
methodology is more resistant to social desirability bias (Greenwald et al., 2009).
If people hold an implicit bias against creativity, then we cannot assume that
organizations, institutions or even scientific endeavors will desire and recognize creative ideas
even when they explicitly state they want them. This is because when journals extol creative
research, universities train scientists to promote creative solutions, R&D companies commend
the development of new products, pharmaceutical companies praise creative medical
breakthroughs, they may do so in ways that promote uncertainty by requiring gate-keepers to
identify the single “best” and most “accurate” idea thereby creating an unacknowledged aversion
to creativity. In addition, our results suggest that if people have difficulty gaining acceptance for
creative ideas especially when more practical and unoriginal options are readily available, the
field of creativity may need to shift its current focus from identifying how to generate more
creative ideas to identifying how to help innovative institutions recognize and accept creativity.
Future research should identify factors which mitigate or reverse the bias against creativity.
Bias Against Creativity
12
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Bias Against Creativity
17
Table 1. Descriptives for all major variables used in Experiment 1, N = 731
Mean SD 1 2 3
1. Openness to Experience
4.01
.65
2. Condition ( 1 = uncertainty, 0 = baseline)
.38
.43
.11
3. Explicit Bias
.06
.91
-
.32
*
-
.07
4. Implicit Bias
-
.09
.53
-
.25**
.35**
.29*
*p < .05; **p < .01
1uncertainty condition contained 28 participants and the baseline condition contained 45
participants
Bias Against Creativity
18
Table 2. Descriptives of all major variables used in Experiment 2, N = 1401
Mean SD 1 2 3 4 5
1. Openness to Experience
5.59
.99
2. Condition ( 1 = low tolerance for uncertainty, 0 = high
tolerance for uncertainty)
.50
.50
-
.08
3. Uncertainty Feelings When Evaluating an Idea
4.12
1.30
-
.04
.20*
4. Explicit Bias
.21
.87
-
.23**
-
.01
.01
5. Implicit Bias
-
.05
.46
-
.34**
.25**
-
.13
.20*
6. Creativity Rating
5.41
1.05
.20*
-
.33**
-
.01
-
.24**
-
.33**
*p < .05; **p < .01
170 participants were in the low tolerance for uncertainty condition, and 70 participants were in the high tolerance for uncertainty
condition
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... We observed that positive emotions, compared to negative or neutral ones, facilitated accurate evaluation of non-creative and highly creative uses. The evaluation of moderately creative uses was specifically sensitive to negative emotions, perhaps due to a sense of uncertainty (Mueller et al., 2012) about whether those ideas were appropriate (e.g., a bicycle as a slide), resulting in participants in negative emotional states assigning lower scores for creativity. This study offered preliminary evidence of the impact of evaluators' emotions on their judgments of the creativity of others' ideas as a function of the nature of the idea. ...
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The dynamic creativity framework (DCF) represents a new theoretical perspective for studying the creativity construct. This framework is based on the dynamic definition of creativity, and it has both theoretical and empirical implications. From a theoretical point of view, we review the characteristics of the dynamic creative process and its extension into the dynamic universal creative process, encompassing creativity at different layers of complexity. We discuss the key concept of creative potential, considering individual, sociocultural, and material viewpoints, and we show how the DCF is instrumental in clarifying the relationship between creativity and intelligence, between creativity and anticipation, as well as in introducing the concept of 'organic creativity'. From the empirical perspective, we focus on the dynamic creative process broken down into four phases: i) drive, ii) information, iii) idea generation, iv) idea evaluation. We review results obtained through investigations accounting for the dynamic interplay between emotional and cognitive components defining creative performance for each. Experiments were conducted to measure the role of emotions and attention in driving the dynamic process, considering the processing of apparently irrelevant information and the interaction between idea generation and idea evaluation, always taking into account individual differences as measured through personality traits, performance variables, or lifetime achievement. Neurophysiological evidence is considered in discussing dynamic effects in divergent thinking, such as the serial order effect, as well as the possibility to enhance creative potential through neurofeedback. Finally, we report on the effects of different environments on the creative process, highlighting the dynamics produced by context-embeddedness.
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This study develops and tests arguments that improvisation is not universal in its benefits for the firm, but rather its multidimensional characteristics (action‐orientation, creativity, and spontaneity) hold differential performance effects. The study further examines whether these relationships are contingent upon individual agency and self‐efficacy. Drawing on primary data from industrial sales account managers in Ghana, the study finds that an increasing level of action‐orientation is associated with decreases in perceived sales performance and the decrease in performance is more pronounced under conditions of stronger sense of agency and self‐efficacy. Similarly, an increasing level of creativity is associated with decreases in perceived sales performance when agency is stronger. However, an increasing level of spontaneity is associated with increases in performance and this increase is strengthened under conditions of stronger sense of self‐efficacy. The study concludes that the effect of strategic improvisation on sales performance outcome within the context of an emerging economy (such as Ghana) is more nuanced than established improvisation literature suggests.
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As the demand for creativity grows, the vulnerability of ideas to theft becomes increasingly salient. Knowledge workers are keenly aware of idea theft and nearly one-third report having co-workers who steal ideas. However, the severity of consequences people face for stealing ideas is unclear. In this article, I investigate the interpersonal consequences of stealing ideas compared to stealing money. Across a series of experiments, I found that idea thieves are judged to have worse character than money thieves, and that individuals are less willing to offer them co-worker support. Further, I found that stronger internal attributions for idea theft behaviors drive this effect. Furthermore, I tested and found no evidence supporting value as an alternative explanation. Lastly, I found that individuals are judged more negatively for stealing creative (vs. practical) ideas. Taken together, these findings suggest that idea theft has significant interpersonal consequences with negative implications for co-worker dynamics.
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Creativity and innovation are often considered to be essential characteristics of effective organizations. However, recent experimental research suggests that individual-level creativity in the workplace is not always perceived positively because of the uncertainty inherent in creative ideas. Although this research has advanced our understanding of perceptions of individual creativity in organizations, less is known about whether this creativity bias holds in real world contexts and, if so, whether there are organizational consequences. In this paper, we examine the organizational implications of executives’ use of words related to creativity and innovation (i.e., creativity-speak) during quarterly earnings calls. We predict that due to the association between creativity and uncertainty, market reactions to creativity-speak will be negative. However, we also predict that these same discussions of creativity will be associated with higher firm financial performance. We find support for our predictions, and additionally find that the creativity bias can be ameliorated through executives’ use of a positive tone when discussing creativity and innovation. Our study has a number of theoretical implications for the study of creativity, innovation, and executive communication.
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The present study examined the factorial structure, reliability, and concurrent validity of the 5-item Performance Failure Appraisal Inventory–Short Form (PFAI–SF) based on 396 Malaysian undergraduates’ responses to the PFAI–SF and a 12-item self-rated creativity scale. Confirmatory factor analyses showed that the hypothetical one-factor model was not fit to the data. A modified model with an error covariance between items 1 and 2 was satisfactory instead. On an exploratory basis, item 2 was removed and the one-factor model with four items also showed good model fit. Moreover, both five-item and four-item models showed good internal consistency and concurrent validity. The latter was supported by the negative relationship between PFAI–SF and creativity scores. Overall, the present study provides empirical evidence to the usability of the PFAI–SF in the Malaysian context. Future researchers are encouraged to extend the scope of the investigation by exploring solutions to the suitability of item 2.
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The success of new technologies such as contact tracing mobile applications depends on large-scale end-user adoption. However, the implementation may encounter resistance, since the uncertainty surrounding novel technology may raise anxiety, and persuasion efforts to promote use can evoke reactance. Thereby, anxiety and reactance are two forms of resistance to new technology. Little is known about the role of resistance over the course of the innovation implementation process, in a social environment where technology functionality depends on adoption by others. Therefore, this four-wave longitudinal study followed adoption of the Dutch COVID-19 contact tracing app during four months (N = 1120), and explored the time dynamics and interplay of reactance to freedom threat, anxiety, and perceived social norms on app use. Mixed-effect analyses showed that anxiety and, subtly, reactance decreased with time; initial freedom threat predicted later reactance. App use related negatively to reactance and anxiety; and positively to positive social norms. Over time, the norm effect was mediated by lower reactance and anxiety. The results imply that resistance is pervasive, suggest that self-perceived app use norms may be key to overcoming resistance to new applications, and demonstrate that theories predicting innovation or technology acceptance benefit from studying predictors over time.
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Free production of variability through unfettered divergent thinking holds out the seductive promise of effortless creativity, but runs the risk of generating only quasi-creativity or pseudo-creativity if it is not adapted to reality. Thus, creative thinking seems to involve two components: generation of novelty (via divergent thinking) and evaluation of the novelty (via convergent thinking). In the area of convergent thinking, knowledge is of particular importance: It is a source of ideas, suggests pathways to solutions, and provides criteria of effectiveness and novelty. The way in which the two kinds of thinking work together can be understood in terms of thinking styles or of phases in the generation of creative products. In practical situations, divergent thinking without convergent thinking can cause a variety of problems including reckless change. None the less, care must be exercised by those who sing the praises of convergent thinking: Both too little and too much is bad for creativity.
Article
Creativity does not have a dark side. Creative products and efforts can be malevolent, but that is apparent in their impact and is not an inherent quality of creativity nor a requisite trait in the creative personality. Claiming that there is a dark side to creativity is much like arguing that hammers are evil because they can be used to dismantle as well as construct things. Creativity is indeed in some ways a tool of humanity, but of course that is merely a metaphor and, as such, only imperfectly applicable. The important point is that the process that underlies all creative things is not moral or immoral, ethical or unethical, good or evil. It is essentially blind. Like a tool, it can be applied in many different ways, some of which are benevolent and some of which are unethical and immoral, but to understand creativity it is best to be parsimonious and leave out what is extraneous, and that includes all possible effects. This chapter develops this view of parsimonious creativity and describes the ostensible dark side as a function of values and decisions that are ancillary to actual creative work. There is no denying that creative talents have in the past been used in highly unfortunate ways. Many famous examples of this have been described by McLaren (1993), Stein (1993), and the authors of others chapters in this volume.
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Creativity research has moved from an almost exclusive emphasis on the creative person towards a more balanced inquiry that centers on both individual difference issues and questions about the nature of creative products and the conditions that facilitate their creation. Over 30 years of research show that product creativity can be reliably and validly assessed based on the consensus of experts. The Consensual Assessment Technique (CAT) proposes that independent raters familiar with a product domain, persons who have not conferred with one another or received special training, are best able to decide whether one product is more creative than another. Although product creativity may be difficult to characterize, it is something that people can recognize and agree upon when they see it.
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In reporting Implicit Association Test (IAT) results, researchers have most often used scoring conventions described in the first publication of the IAT (A. G. Greenwald, D. E. McGhee, & J. L. K. Schwartz, 1998). Demonstration IATs available on the Internet have produced large data sets that were used in the current article to evaluate alternative scoring procedures. Candidate new algorithms were examined in terms of their (a) correlations with parallel self-report measures, (b) resistance to an artifact associated with speed of responding, (c) internal consistency, (d) sensitivity to known influences on IAT measures, and (e) resistance to known procedural influences. The best-performing measure incorporates data from the IAT's practice trials, uses a metric that is calibrated by each respondent's latency variability, and includes a latency penalty for errors. This new algorithm strongly outperforms the earlier (conventional) procedure.
Article
Two studies were conducted to examine teachers' perceptions of creative students. Study 1 was based on earlier works that identified personality characteristics associated with creativity. The prototypicality of these characteristics as they applied to creative children was rated by college students. Elementary school teachers were then asked to rate their favorite and least favorite students based on these characteristics, There was a significant difference between the teachers' judgments of their favorite and least favorite students on these measures. Judgments for the favorite student were negatively correlated with creativity; judgments for the least favorite student were positively correlated with creativity. Students displaying creative characteristics appear to be unappealing to teachers. Study 2 explored the conflict between the results of Study 1 and teachers' self-reports that they enjoy working with creative children. Teachers' concepts of creativity were different from concepts that have guided previous research. In a reanalysis of data from Study 1 employing the teacher-generated creativity prototype, there was a tendency (though nonsignificant) for the favorite students to be more similar to the creative prototype than the least favorite students. Areas of divergence in concepts of creativity and the implications for the promotion of creativity in education are discussed.
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Describes experiments in which happy or sad moods were induced in Ss by hypnotic suggestion to investigate the influence of emotions on memory and thinking. Results show that (a) Ss exhibited mood-state-dependent memory in recall of word lists, personal experiences recorded in a daily diary, and childhood experiences; (b) Ss recalled a greater percentage of those experiences that were affectively congruent with the mood they were in during recall; (c) emotion powerfully influenced such cognitive processes as free associations, imaginative fantasies, social perceptions, and snap judgments about others' personalities; (d) when the feeling-tone of a narrative agreed with the reader's emotion, the salience and memorability of events in that narrative were increased. An associative network theory is proposed to account for these results. In this theory, an emotion serves as a memory unit that can enter into associations with coincident events. Activation of this emotion unit aids retrieval of events associated with it; it also primes emotional themata for use in free association, fantasies, and perceptual categorization. (54 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
This study examines factors that influence the creativity of managers’ decisions. A domain-based, evolutionary model that describes the influence of context on creative action is combined with a teleological model of creative managerial decision making derived from the strategy formulation and organizational decision process literatures. Results show that two key dimensions of managerial creativity, the novelty and the value of choices, were affected by markedly different factors. Surprisingly, influences on the novelty of managers’ choices were essentially independent of influences on the value of those choices. Overall, this study represents an initial attempt to describe and empirically examine processes that affect the creativity of executives’ choices.
Article
Cross-national comparisons of relational work styles suggest that the United States is an anomaly in its low relational focus. This article describes Protestant Relational Ideology (PRI), a cultural construct that explains the origins and nature of this anomaly. This construct refers to a deep-seated belief that affective and relational concerns are considered inappropriate in work settings and, therefore, are to be given less attention than in social, non-work settings. Akin to an institutional imprinting perspective, a review of sociological and historical research links PRI to the beliefs and practices of the founding communities of American society. A social cognition perspective is used to explain the mechanisms through which PRI influences American relational workways. The article also describes a program of research that uses PRI to address a wider set of organizational behavior issues that include: antecedents of prejudice and discrimination in diverse organizations; sources of intercultural miscommunication; beliefs about team conflict; mental models of “professionalism” and its effect on organizational recruitment and selection.