Creative people—people in their right minds—tend to have certain traits, but you’ll be surprised at what they are!
Creativity is essential for fostering new technology, creating art or music, or implementing the marketing of products. It comes into play in a wide variety of fields and practices, and is seen as an appraised skill. Those who use the right portion of their brain more are thought to be more creative, engaging the proper synapses for creative activity, daydreaming, and imagination. On the other hand, left-brain thinkers are more logical, with an inclination for numbers and structure. Creative types may mystify their peers with their unconventional thoughts and ideas, but science is working to unshroud some of the things that make creative minds tick.
Creativity researchers Paul Silvia, James Kaufman, Roni Reiter-Palmon, and Benjamin Wigert put together a recent study that indicates a correlation between creative thinkers and dishonesty. The participants in the study with reportedly lower levels of honesty and humility were able to boast more creative accomplishments. Furthermore, a study constructed by Francesca Gino and Dan Ariely tested whether or not creativity directly causes an increase in dishonesty, by creating a trial that prompts creative test takers to lie about their responses in order to make more money. The participants being evaluated were told that by selecting a certain response, they would make more money, even though that response was clearly incorrect. As expected, the test-takers made the less ethical decision, causing Gino and Ariely to attest that creativity was a better predictor of dishonesty than intelligence.
University of Pennsylvania Assistant Professor Jennifer Mueller wrote an academic paper entitled “Recognizing creative leadership: Can creative idea expression negatively relate to perceptions of leadership potential?” The paper outlines that creative people are viewed by others as having less leadership potential than their non-creative counterparts, unless they have the added value of engaging charisma. Mueller explains the findings by reasoning that, while people see creative types as visionary, they also see them as wildcards, less likely to adopt conformity. People associate rigid thinking and conformity with accomplishing goals, which is a necessary strength of a leader. While the study does not address whether or not creative people actually lack leadership potential, it makes explicit that their peers may think of them as weaker candidates for such a position.
In a study published to the academic journal The Proceedings of the Royal Society, The University of Newcastle upon Tyne and the Open University in the U.K. indicated a link between creativity and sexual promiscuity. In the study, 425 creative types such as working artists and poets reported having twice as many sexual partners than their unimaginative peers. The participants in the study were given a questionnaire that not only addressed the participant’s inclination towards creative activities, but also a section that inquired as to their sexual history. They were also asked a series of questions helping to identify a presence of schizophrenia, as mental illness and promiscuity are also thought to be linked. The study not only reflected that creative types had more sexual partners in all, but that their sexual activity with multiple partners was most prominent during times of creative fertility.
St. Lawrence University’s Dr. Alan Searleman presented a study to the American Psychological Association’s annual conference showing that left-handed people have a better vocabulary and are more intelligent, leading them to pursue more creative occupations. The study’s findings only displayed such results for “true” left-handers, or people who use the left side of their body for all things, unlike some left-handed people who talk on the phone on the right side of their ear or cut with their right hand. The study commanded 1,200 people to answer a series of questions concerning activities that they engaged in with their left hands, followed by a series of problem-solving questions and vocabulary tests. The true left-handers scored one-third more highly on vocabulary tests and twice as high on problem-solving tasks than others involved in the study. Searleman reasons that this may account for the large amount of the left-handed population that partakes in music, art, and writing.
In a study published to the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, researchers showed that creative types are more likely to possess low levels of latent inhibition, which is a person or animal’s unconscious ability to filter out stimuli that experience has shown are irrelevant to its needs. While some scientists have associated this phenomenon with psychosis, others have argued that low latent inhibition may be good when combined with high intelligence and the ability to multitask. It has been shown that latent inhibition is lost entirely in the early stages of schizophrenia, so some consider creative types to be more disposed to madness. Indeed, more than 20 studies have indicated the prominence of depression and other mood disorders in creative types, according to Johns Hopkins University professor of psychiatry Kay Redfield Jamison. Ruminating, reflective people may become more creative, depressed, or both.
A study published in Personality and Individual Differences attempted to bring light to the fact that some people recall virtually none of their dreams, while others recall them often and in vivid detail. When testing 193 college students over both personality traits and dream recall over the span of 14 weeks, the students with personality traits more commonly associated with creativity remembered more of their dreams and in better detail. Some of these traits include daydreaming and imagination. The researchers reason that these creatives, which define their world by imaginative means during the day, will be just as imaginative while sleeping. Such people may have less of a distinction between waking hours and dreaming, experiencing both realms with an aptitude towards the vivid and unusual. Interestingly, factors such as sleep quality and length of sleep did not appear to have much resonance on the ability to recall dreams.
According to the Daily Mail, German researchers have found in a study that a messy desk increases the propensity toward creative problem solving. In fact, whether the chaos emerges in the form of a messy desk or messy storefront, the studies indicated that people were able to think more clearly amidst disarray. The untidy environment prompted them to want to simplify the tasks at hand, boosting employees’ ability to solve problems in a creative, efficient way. The study also showed that conservatives were most affected by the study, given that they are less comfortable with disorganization than liberals. As a result of their uneasiness with the chaotic situation, they will attempt to simplify other aspects of the working environment in order to maintain a sense of structure.
Educational psychologist Kyung Hee Kim participated in a question and answer session for Britannicaaddressing the widespread, creative decline in America. Kim attributes the downfall of creative whims to the large populous of children in America who have abandoned creatively engaging activities for sterile technology and hours of mind-numbing television. She argues that while video games may take place in fantasy environments, they do not foster actual creativity because there are a set number of solutions within the game, and children are playing them at a prime time for creative development. Stern parenting may also contribute to the problem, by depriving children of the opportunity for self-discovery when parents overbook their schedules or forbid them to partake in certain activities. Likewise, by over-diagnosis of ADHD, modern children are being prescribed drugs like Adderall that hinder creativity and repress daydreaming in exchange for superior focus.
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