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J Pers Soc Psychol. 1986 Jan;50(1):14-23.

Social influences on creativity: the effects of contracted-for reward.


Three studies were conducted to examine the effects of reward on children's and adult's creativity. The primary hypothesis was that explicitly contracting to do an activity in order to receive a reward will have negative effects on creativity, but receiving no reward or only a noncontracted-for reward will have no such negative effects. All three studies provided support for this hypothesis. Moreover, this support appears to be strong and generalizable across different subject populations, reward types, reward presentations, and creativity tasks. Possible mechanisms for the phenomenon are discussed.

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