Morality and creativity part 1
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All too often, ethics are not only thrown out the window in creative brainstorming sessions but barred from entry under the guise that ethics stifle the creative process. A clear sense of ethics in line with those of mainstream society is considered a desirable characteristic (Amabile, 1988). Ethics may, however, have a negative effect on creativity—another desirable characteristic (Amabile, 1988). By integrating trait activation theory and recent literature in media psychology, the current study tests the effects of reading and assessing morally ambiguous (vs. clear) narrative resolutions on creative thinking via a divergent thinking test. Results show evidence consistent with the idea that trait creativity, when activated by morally clear story-resolutions, leads to greater performance on a divergent-thinking test, whereas trait creativity is unrelated to performance after exposure to morally ambiguous story-resolutions. So, while there may be positive associations between unethical behavior and creativity, the current study shows that not all activators of creativity are “dark."