Exploring Normative Creativity: Testing the Relationship Between Cognitive Flexibility and Sexual Identity

Abstract

Brown (1989) proposed that lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals possess greater “normative creativity” and flexibility than heterosexuals because they have fewer norms for living in heterosexually dominated society. In this article we explore one possible individual difference between heterosexuals and nonheterosexuals in the domain of normative creativity by examining the relationship between cognitive flexibility and sexual identity among 358 university students. Participants with sexual identities not directed toward one gender exclusively (e.g., bisexual, biaffectionate, or queer) scored significantly higher on a measure of cognitive flexibility than did heterosexual and gay/lesbian participants; the latter two groups did not differ from each other. These results suggest that it is having a nonexclusive sexual identity, rather than a lesbian or gay identity, that is related to greater cognitive flexibility.

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Correspondence to Julie Konik.

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Konik, J., Crawford, M. Exploring Normative Creativity: Testing the Relationship Between Cognitive Flexibility and Sexual Identity. Sex Roles 51, 249–253 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1023/B:SERS.0000037885.22789.83

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  • cognitive flexibility
  • bisexuality
  • homosexuality
  • sexual identity