- Creative production by angry people peaks early on, decreases over time, and is relatively unstructured
- Journal of Experimental Social Psychology
- Volume | Issue number
- 47 | 6
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
Anecdotes and introspective reports from eminent scientists and artists aside, a systematic test of the putative creativity-enhancing effect of anger is missing. This article fills this void with three experiments examining creativity as a function of anger (vs. sad or a mood-neutral control state). Combining insights from the literatures on creativity and on mood and information processing the authors predicted that anger (vs. sadness and a mood-neutral control state) triggers a less systematic and structured approach to the creativity task, and leads to initially higher levels of creativity (as manifested in original ideation and creative insights). Following work on resource depletion, the authors further predicted that anger more than sadness depletes resources and that, therefore, creative performance should decline over time more for angry than for sad people. Results supported predictions. Implications for creativity, information processing, and resource depletion are discussed.
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