W. Van Leeuwen
- Creativity Under Attack: How People’s Role in Competitive Conflict Shapes Their Creative Idea Generation
- Creativity Research Journal
- Volume | Issue number
- 29 | 4
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
Although creativity is helpful if not needed to deal with conflicts, research on the effects of conflict on creativity shows inconsistent findings. In this study, the possibility that effects may depend on people’s role in conflict was considered. Whether, when, and why assuming the role of attacker or defender in conflict affects creative idea generation was therefore investigated. The prediction was tested if attackers are more creative than defenders. In addition, control over the situation as a moderating variable and anxiety as a mediator were considered. Participants (n = 115, Mage = 22.06, SDage = 2.75, 83 women) were recruited in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and were randomly assigned to an attacker, defender, or role control condition. Controllability over the situation was manipulated within-subjects and anxiety and creativity were measured during 2 rounds of idea generation. Results revealed no differences in creative performance and anxiety between defenders and attackers and that defenders generated a greater number of ideas than people in the role control condition. Exploratory analyses further revealed that attackers and defenders generated a greater number of aggressive ideas. Finally, attackers and defenders experienced more anxiety, but increased anxiety did not account for observed differences in the number of (aggressive) ideas. The effect of controllability could not be investigated due to a failed manipulation. Limitations and implications are discussed.
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