Promotion-focused states generally boost creativity because they associate with enhanced activation and cognitive flexibility.
With regard to prevention-focused states, research evidence is less consistent, with some findings suggesting prevention-focused
states promote creativity and other findings pointing to no or even negative effects. We proposed and tested the hypothesis
that whether prevention-focused states boost creativity depends on regulatory closure (whether a goal is fulfilled or not).
We predicted that prevention-focused states that activate the individual (unfulfilled prevention goals, fear) would lead to
similar levels of creativity as promotion-focused states but that prevention-focused states that deactivate (closed prevention
goals, relief) would lead to lower levels of creativity. Moreover, we predicted that this effect would be mediated by feelings
of activation. Predictions were tested in 3 studies on creative insights and 1 on original ideation. Results supported predictions.
Implications for self-regulation, motivation, mood, and creativity are discussed.
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