Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Dark Side of Creative Individuals?

Francesca Gino and Dan Ariely have conducted a startling new study that provides evidence suggesting that creative individuals may be more likely to engage in dishonest behavior. Here is an excerpt from their working paper abstract:

In four studies, we show that participants with creative personalities who scored high on a test measuring divergent thinking tended to cheat more (Study 1); that dispositional creativity is a better predictor of unethical behavior than intelligence (Study 2); and that participants who were primed to think creatively were more likely to behave dishonestly because of their creativity motivation (Study 3) and greater ability to justify their dishonest behavior (Study 4). Finally, a field study constructively replicates these effects and demonstrates that individuals who work in more creative positions are also more morally flexible (Study 5). The results provide evidence for an association between creativity and dishonesty, thus highlighting a dark side of creativity.


M. Bennett said...

This would be also valid in every area of life where creativity can be applied successfully. Creative people would be better in organising parties, following fashion trends,
flirting, expressing their sexuality in bed and satisfying their partner, torture prisoners etc. So dishonesty is a small side of life where they are better than others. Sometime it feels those studies reinvent the wheel.

Fira Zainal said...

That's quite an interesting study but I have to disagree. Firstly, what was the method in obtaining subject? In my honest opinion, I feel that some studied tend to put out advertisements for studies with the guarantee of compensation which tends to open the gates for those who are motivated by money instead of really helping with the cause of the research. I feel that it's possible to draw a conclusion that most people who are motivated by money (and really, who isn't?) can lean towards dishonest behavior when not assisting the cause honestly or by their own sole motivation to search for the truth.

Secondly, I feel that there is a bias in the study. Not all creative individuals are corrupt as with not all business majors are callous and motivated solely by money. Perhaps some are but those are the ones that fall between the cracks. It's interesting how creative people were set aside as diabolical, evil and imaginative geniuses with no regard for ethics. I mean, where would the world be without thinkers, dreamers and inventors such as Albert Einstein, Jane Addams or even Mark Zuckerberg?