It has long been speculated that mood and creativity are linked. But there is little research examining how creative process engagement (CPE) affects creativity outcomes. Although there is some evidence of how mood affects immediate creative expression, few studies have looked at how one’s mood and CPE affects the creative outcome over the long-term. To address these gaps, March L. To, from the University of Queensland School of Business, led a study exploring mood and creativity. “We also take a within-person approach, investigating the concurrent and lagged relationships between activating and deactivating momentary moods and CPE among individuals working on a long-term project requiring creativity.”
The team evaluated surveys from 30 doctoral students, ranging in age from 21 – 53 years old. The participants were instructed to fill out the surveys several times a day over a ten day period, while they worked on a creative project assigned by their supervisor. They were asked to list their goal orientation and the amount of support they felt they were receiving, as well as their moods. The researchers found a significant variance for the in-person CPE. Additionally, they found a direct link between support, goal orientation and creativity with relation to mood. “Affect and creativity researchers traditionally concentrated on the effects of induced mood valence on creativity, but have largely overlooked the effects of mood activation,” said To. Another interesting finding was that the participants were more creative during active mood states, regardless of whether they were negative or positive. To said, “The task in the current study, being long-term, serious, and performance-oriented, was precisely the type of setting in which beneficial effects of negative activating mood might be expected as a result of increased focus, effort, and persistence.” In conclusion, To added, “Managers or project leaders should encourage activated positive moods for concurrent CPE, and provide employees in activating mood states, especially negative ones, with adequate time for incubation and exploration so that their focused and persistent efforts have time to bear fruit.”
To, M. L., Fisher, C. D., Ashkanasy, N. M., & Rowe, P. A. (2011, October 31). Within-Person Relationships Between Mood and Creativity. Journal of Applied Psychology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1037/a0026097
© Copyright 2011 by By John Smith, therapist in Bellingham, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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