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J Pers Soc Psychol. 2008 May;94(5):739-56. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.94.5.739.

Hedonic tone and activation level in the mood-creativity link: toward a dual pathway to creativity model.

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Department of Psychology, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.


To understand when and why mood states influence creativity, the authors developed and tested a dual pathway to creativity model; creative fluency (number of ideas or insights) and originality (novelty) are functions of cognitive flexibility, persistence, or some combination thereof. Invoking work on arousal, psychophysiological processes, and working memory capacity, the authors argue that activating moods (e.g., angry, fearful, happy, elated) lead to more creative fluency and originality than do deactivating moods (e.g., sad, depressed, relaxed, serene). Furthermore, activating moods influence creative fluency and originality because of enhanced cognitive flexibility when tone is positive and because of enhanced persistence when tone is negative. Four studies with different mood manipulations and operationalizations of creativity (e.g., brainstorming, category inclusion tasks, gestalt completion tests) support the model.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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