Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Dishonesty and creativity: 2 sides of the same coin?

20.02.2014
New research shows that lying about performance on one task may increase creativity on a subsequent task by making people feel less bound by conventional rules.

The findings are published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

"The common saying that 'rules are meant to be broken' is at the root of both creative performance and dishonest behavior," says lead researcher Francesca Gino of Harvard Business School. "Both creativity and dishonesty, in fact, involve rule breaking."

To examine the link between dishonesty and creativity, Gino and colleague Scott Wiltermuth of the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California designed a series of experiments that allowed, and even sometimes encouraged, people to cheat.

In the first experiment, for example, participants were presented with a series of number matrices and were tasked with finding two numbers that added up to 10 in each matrix. They were told they would be compensated based on the number of matrices they had been able to solve and were asked to self-report the number they got correct. This setup allowed participants to inflate their own performance — what they didn't know was that the researchers were able to track their actual performance.

In a subsequent and supposedly unrelated task, the participants were presented with sets of three words (e.g., sore, shoulder, sweat) and were asked to come up with a fourth word (e.g., cold) that was related to each word in the set. The task, which taps a person's ability to identify words that are so-called "remote associates," is commonly used to measure creative thinking.

Gino and Wiltermuth found that almost 59% of the participants cheated by inflating their performance on the matrices in the experiment.

And cheating on the matrices seemed to be associated with a boost to creative thinking — cheaters figured out more of the remote associates than those who didn't cheat.

Subsequent experiments provided further evidence for a link between dishonesty and creativity, revealing that participants showed higher levels of creative thinking according to various measures after they had been induced to cheat on an earlier task.

Additional data suggest that cheating may encourage subsequent creativity by priming participants to be less constrained by rules.

Previous work has focused on the factors that might lead to unethical behavior. In earlier research, Gino had found that encouraging out-of-the-box thinking can lead people toward more dishonest decisions when confronted with an ethical dilemma.

This research, however, focuses on the consequences of dishonesty:

"We turned the relationship upside down, in a sense," says Gino. "Our research raises the possibility that one of the reasons why dishonesty seems so widespread in today's society is that by acting dishonestly we become more creative — and this creativity may allow us to come up with original justifications for our immoral behavior and make us likely to keep crossing ethical boundaries."

Gino and Wiltermuth are following up on these findings by investigating how people respond when dishonesty and creativity are combined in the form of "creative" cheating. Their initial findings suggest that people may give cheaters a pass if they cheat in particularly creative ways.

For more information about this study, please contact: Francesca Gino at fgino@hbs.edu.

The article abstract can be found online: http://pss.sagepub.com/content/early/2014/02/18/0956797614520714.abstract

The APS journal Psychological Science is the highest ranked empirical journal in psychology. For a copy of the article "Evil Genius? How Dishonesty Can Lead to Greater Creativity" and access to other Psychological Science research findings, please contact Anna Mikulak at 202-293-9300 or amikulak@psychologicalscience.org.

Anna Mikulak | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.psychologicalscience.org

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change
17.11.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

nachricht Win-win strategies for climate and food security
02.10.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New proton record: Researchers measure magnetic moment with greatest possible precision

High-precision measurement of the g-factor eleven times more precise than before / Results indicate a strong similarity between protons and antiprotons

The magnetic moment of an individual proton is inconceivably small, but can still be quantified. The basis for undertaking this measurement was laid over ten...

Im Focus: Frictional Heat Powers Hydrothermal Activity on Enceladus

Computer simulation shows how the icy moon heats water in a porous rock core

Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

IceCube experiment finds Earth can block high-energy particles from nuclear reactions

24.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 'half-hearted' solution to one-sided heart failure

24.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

Heidelberg Researchers Study Unique Underwater Stalactites

24.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>