The Bias Against Creativity: Why People Desire But Reject Creative Ideas

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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.

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2010-01-01
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creativity; bias; goals
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Required Publisher Statement: Copyright held by Sage Publications. Final version forthcoming as: Mueller, J. S., Melwani, S., & Goncalo, J. A. (in press). The bias against creativity: Why people desire but reject creative ideas. Psychological Science. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.
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