Antecedents to Creativity:

Creative in Someone Else’s Shoes?:

The Effect of Perspective-Taking on Creativity

by Verena Krause, dissertation

Employees in organizations often have to generate novel products, services, and even entire business ideas that will appeal to others. One, seemingly prudent, way to gauge what others will like is by attempting to take their perspective, and thus look at the world from their point of view. However, in this paper, I argue that taking another person’s perspective seems to have detrimental rather than beneficial effects on novel idea generation. I demonstrate in two studies that taking the perspective of someone of the other gender decreases the novelty of the ideas generated for that gender (Study1), and that this effect holds, even under counter-stereotypical conditions, which are generally conducive to novel idea generation (Study 2). Additionally, even when taking a creative person’s perspective (same or other gender) novel idea generation is stifled (Study 3). Last, it seems that this effect is due to the cooperative mindset that is activated by perspective-taking because a competitive mindset was able to mitigate the stifling effects of perspective-taking on novelty (Study 4). Since perspective-taking tends to occur more often in cooperative, rather than competitive, situations in naturalistic settings, I conclude that taking another person’s perspective might most often be detrimental to novel idea generation.

Divine Inhibition:

Thinking About God Stifles Creative Thought

by Jack Goncalo, Sebastian Deri, Verena Krause, and Carmit Tadmor

under review at Academy of Management Discoveries

There is a widespread and persistent belief that creativity is divinely inspired, but existing research has not considered the impact that thinking about God might have on creative problem solving. In the current research, we address this gap and offer a different view, arguing that actively thinking about God will stifle rather than stimulate creative thought. Across studies, using both individual difference measures (Studies 1 and 2) and experimental manipulations (Studies 3 and 4), we found that thinking about God reduces creativity, especially for believers. These results held both in the lab and in the real world, across different measures of creativity (creative personality, patent output, structured imagination, remote association) and across different countries (the U.S. and Israel), demonstrating the robustness of this effect. We discuss the implications for the role that religion might play in societies that value creativity and innovation.


 Consequences of Creativity:


Reversing the Equation: What are the Consequences of Creativity and Innovation?

by Jack Goncalo, Verena Krause, and Olga Khessina*

revise and resubmit at Research in Organizational Behavior

Decades of research has focused on creativity and innovation as dependent variables, but neglected to study them as independent variables, with very real and important consequences on organizational activities. To date, research on creativity in organizations has been motivated by the assumption that creative ideas can be implemented to realize innovations that will inevitably increase profit, strengthen competitive advantage, and ensure firm survival. The unquestioned assumption that creativity and innovation have positive downstream consequences has constrained existing research by forcing a myopic focus on these outcomes as dependent variables. Thus, in a significant departure from the existing literature, we turn the tables to conceptualize creativity and innovation as independent variables that can have a sweeping and frequently negative impact on a wide range of other important outcomes. We conclude by calling for a new stream of research to more soberly evaluate the psychological and organizational consequences and expected gains from creativity and innovation.

*All authors contributed equally to this paper.

 Creativity Lifts the Burden of Secrecy

by Jack Goncalo, Lynne Vincent, and Verena Krause

revise and resubmit at Journal of Experimental Social Psychology

Most research on creativity has focused on the production of creative solutions but has not considered the possibility that the act of performing creative work can have psychological consequences.  We illustrate this perspective by demonstrating that working on a creative task can provide an outlet that mitigates the physical burden of secrecy.  While secrecy is metaphorically related to physical burden, creativity is metaphorically associated with freedom to “think outside the box” and explore beyond normal constraints.  Thus, we predict permission to be creative may actually feel liberating and feelings of liberation may, in turn, lift the physical burden of keeping a big secret.  The results of three studies supported our prediction and suggest that the opportunity to be creative may be a way for people to unburden without directly revealing secrets that could cause shame and embarrassment.  We discuss the implications of our results for future research on the psychological consequences of performing creative work.