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Psychol Sci. 2012 Jan 1;23(1):13-7. doi: 10.1177/0956797611421018. Epub 2011 Nov 29.

The bias against creativity: why people desire but reject creative ideas.

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Management Department, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, 3620 Locust Walk, Ste. 2000, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


People often reject creative ideas, even when espousing creativity as a desired goal. To explain this paradox, we propose that people can hold a bias against creativity that is not necessarily overt and that is activated when people experience a motivation to reduce uncertainty. In two experiments, we manipulated uncertainty using different methods, including an uncertainty-reduction prime. The results of both experiments demonstrated the existence of a negative bias against creativity (relative to practicality) when participants experienced uncertainty. Furthermore, this bias against creativity interfered with participants' ability to recognize a creative idea. These results reveal a concealed barrier that creative actors may face as they attempt to gain acceptance for their novel ideas.

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