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Acta Psychol (Amst). 2017 Feb;173:32-40. doi: 10.1016/j.actpsy.2016.12.005. Epub 2016 Dec 16.

Enhancing creativity: Proper body posture meets proper emotion.

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School of Psychology and Cognitive Science, East China Normal University, Shanghai, China. Electronic address:
School of Psychology and Cognitive Science, East China Normal University, Shanghai, China.
American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, San Diego, CA, USA.


This study tested whether compatibility or incompatibility between body posture and emotion was beneficial for creativity. In Study 1, participants were asked to solve the Alternative Uses Task (AUT) problems when performing open or closed body posture in positive or negative emotional state respectively. The results showed that originality of AUT performance was higher in the compatible conditions (i.e., open-positive and closed-negative) than in the incompatible conditions (i.e., closed-positive and open-negative). In Study 2, the compatibility effect was replicated in both the AUT and the Realistic Presented Problem test (i.e., RPP). Moreover, it was revealed that participants exhibited the highest associative flexibility in the open-positive condition, and the highest persistence in the closed-negative condition. These findings indicate that compatibility between body posture and emotion is beneficial for creativity. This may be because when the implicit emotions elicited by body posture match explicit emotions, the effects of emotions on creativity are enhanced, therefore promoting creativity through the flexibility or the persistence pathway respectively.


Body posture; Creativity; Embodiment; Emotion

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