When Prevention Promotes Creativity: The Role of Mood, Regulatory Focus, and Regulatory Closure

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

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

200 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Promotion-focused states generally boost creativity because they associate with enhanced activation and cognitive flexibility. With regard to prevention-focused states, research evidence is less consistent, with some findings suggesting prevention-focused states promote creativity and other findings pointing to no or even negative effects. We proposed and tested the hypothesis that whether prevention-focused states boost creativity depends on regulatory closure (whether a goal is fulfilled or not). We predicted that prevention-focused states that activate the individual (unfulfilled prevention goals, fear) would lead to similar levels of creativity as promotion-focused states but that prevention-focused states that deactivate (closed prevention goals, relief) would lead to lower levels of creativity. Moreover, we predicted that this effect would be mediated by feelings of activation. Predictions were tested in 3 studies on creative insights and 1 on original ideation. Results supported predictions. Implications for self-regulation, motivation, mood, and creativity are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)794-809
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Volume100
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May-2011

Keywords

  • regulatory focus
  • motivation
  • mood
  • activation
  • creativity
  • POSITIVE AFFECT
  • WORKING-MEMORY
  • RECONCEPTUALIZING AROUSAL
  • INDIVIDUAL-DIFFERENCES
  • MOTIVATIONAL CUES
  • COGNITIVE CONTROL
  • IDEA GENERATION
  • GOAL ATTAINMENT
  • HEDONIC TONE
  • DUAL PATHWAY

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