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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anna Mikulak | EurekAlert!
Physics of bubbles could explain language patterns
25.07.2017 | University of Portsmouth
Obstructing the ‘inner eye’
07.07.2017 | Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena
Physicists working with researcher Oriol Romero-Isart devised a new simple scheme to theoretically generate arbitrarily short and focused electromagnetic fields. This new tool could be used for precise sensing and in microscopy.
Microwaves, heat radiation, light and X-radiation are examples for electromagnetic waves. Many applications require to focus the electromagnetic fields to...
Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers
Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...
Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.
At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...
3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects
A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...
Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.
For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...
26.07.2017 | Event News
21.07.2017 | Event News
19.07.2017 | Event News
27.07.2017 | Life Sciences
27.07.2017 | Life Sciences
27.07.2017 | Health and Medicine