- Necessity is the mother of invention: Avoidance motivation stimulates creativity through cognitive effort
- Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
- Volume | Issue number
- 103 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
Compared to approach motivation, avoidance motivation has often been related to reduced creativity because it evokes a relatively inflexible processing style. This finding seems inconsistent with the Dual Pathway to Creativity Model, which poses that both flexible and persistent processing styles can result in creative output. Reconciling these inconsistencies, we hypothesized that avoidance motivated individuals are not unable to be creative, but they have to compensate for their inflexible processing style by effortful and controlled processing. Results of five experiments revealed that when individuals are avoidance motivated they can be as creative as when they are approach motivated, but only when creativity is functional for goal-achievement, motivating them to exert the extra effort (Experiment 1-4). We found that approach motivation was associated with cognitive flexibility and avoidance motivation with cognitive persistence (Experiment 1), that creative tasks are perceived to be more difficult by avoidance than by approach motivated individuals, and that avoidance motivated individuals felt more depleted after creative performance (Experiment 2a, 2b, and 3). Finally, creative performance of avoidance motivated individuals suffered more from a load on working memory (Study 4). Our results suggest that for people focusing on avoiding negative outcomes creative performance is difficult and depleting, and they only pay these high cognitive costs when creativity helps achieving their goals.
- go to publisher's site
If you believe that digital publication of certain material infringes any of your rights or (privacy) interests, please let the Library know, stating your reasons. In case of a legitimate complaint, the Library will make the material inaccessible and/or remove it from the website. Please Ask the Library, or send a letter to: Library of the University of Amsterdam, Secretariat, Singel 425, 1012 WP Amsterdam, The Netherlands. You will be contacted as soon as possible.