A meta-analysis of 25 years of mood-creativity research: Hedonic tone, activation, or regulatory focus?

Matthijs Baas*, Carsten K. W. De Dreu, Bernard A. Nijstad

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

823 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This meta-analysis synthesized 102 effect sizes reflecting the relation between specific moods and creativity. Effect sizes overall revealed that positive moods produce more creativity than mood-neutral controls (r =.15), but no significant differences between negative moods and mood-neutral controls (r = -.03) or between positive and negative moods (r =.04) were observed. Creativity is enhanced most by positive mood states that are activating and associated with an approach motivation and promotion focus (e.g., happiness), rather than those that are deactivating and associated with an avoidance motivation and prevention focus (e.g., relaxed). Negative, deactivating moods with an approach motivation and a promotion focus (e.g., sadness) were not associated with creativity, but negative, activating moods with an avoidance motivation and a prevention focus (fear, anxiety) were associated with lower creativity, especially when assessed as cognitive flexibility. With a few exceptions, these results generalized across experimental and correlational designs, populations (students vs. general adult population), and facet of creativity (e.g., fluency, flexibility, originality, eureka/insight). The authors discuss theoretical implications and highlight avenues for future research on specific moods, creativity, and their relationships.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)779-806
Number of pages28
JournalPsychological Bulletin
Volume134
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov-2008

Keywords

  • mood
  • creativity
  • regulatory focus
  • hedonic tone
  • level of activation
  • COGNITIVE TASK-PERFORMANCE
  • AVOIDANCE MOTOR ACTIONS
  • PROBLEM-SOLVING GROUPS
  • POSITIVE AFFECT
  • DIVERGENT-THINKING
  • SELF-REGULATION
  • WORKING-MEMORY
  • NEGATIVE MOOD
  • ORGANIZATIONAL-BEHAVIOR
  • AFFECTIVE NEUROSCIENCE

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