, Volume 36, Issue 4, pp 478-482
Date: 13 Jan 2012

The creative spark of death: The effects of mortality salience and personal need for structure on creativity

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Abstract

Previous research indicates that the awareness of death can be a barrier to creative expression. Specifically, when mortality is rendered salient, creativity is inhibited. However, no studies have considered how individual differences may impact the effect of mortality salience on creativity. Past research has found that mortality salience increases explorative thought processes for individuals low in personal need for structure. Thus, for these people, mortality salience may increase, not decrease, creativity. The current study examined this possibility. Personal need for structure was measured, mortality salience was experimentally manipulated, and creativity was assessed. As predicted, mortality salience increased creativity amongst individuals low in personal need for structure. No effect of mortality salience was observed amongst individuals high in personal need for structure.