The dark side of creativity: original thinkers can be more dishonest.

Published

Journal Article

Creativity is a common aspiration for individuals, organizations, and societies. Here, however, we test whether creativity increases dishonesty. We propose that a creative personality and a creative mindset promote individuals' ability to justify their behavior, which, in turn, leads to unethical behavior. In 5 studies, we show that participants with creative personalities tended to cheat more than less creative individuals and that dispositional creativity is a better predictor of unethical behavior than intelligence (Experiment 1). In addition, we find that participants who were primed to think creatively were more likely to behave dishonestly than those in a control condition (Experiment 2) and that greater ability to justify their dishonest behavior explained the link between creativity and increased dishonesty (Experiments 3 and 4). Finally, we demonstrate that dispositional creativity moderates the influence of temporarily priming creativity on dishonest behavior (Experiment 5). The results provide evidence for an association between creativity and dishonesty, thus highlighting a dark side of creativity.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Gino, F; Ariely, D

Published Date

  • March 2012

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 102 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 445 - 459

PubMed ID

  • 22121888

Pubmed Central ID

  • 22121888

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1939-1315

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-3514

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1037/a0026406

Language

  • eng