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The Social Psychology of Creativity: Effects of Evaluation on Intrinsic Motivation and Creativity of Performance

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Multiple Perspectives on the Effects of Evaluation on Performance

Abstract

In this chapter, I will describe research and findings resulting from the study of the social psychology of creativity. Rather than attempting to specify the personality traits that distinguish creative persons or the steps of the creative process, social psychologists have focused their attention on the impact of situational factors on creative performance. Investigations carried out over the past two decades clearly demonstrate that there is a direct link between the motivational orientation brought by an individual to a task and the creativity of their performance on that task; and it is the environment, or at least certain aspects of the environment, that in large part determine that motivational orientation. Researchers working within this tradition have identified a number of environmental factors that kill intrinsic motivation and creativity. These include expected reward, competition, surveillance and time limits. But often the most deleterious extrinsic constraint of all has been found to be expected evaluation. Perhaps because situations of evaluation often combine aspects of each of the other “killers”, the expectation of evaluation has been shown to severely undermine the intrinsic motivation and creativity of performance of persons across the entire age span, individuals from all walks of life, from preschoolers to professionals whose very livelihood depends upon the creativity of their work.

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Hennessey, B.A. (2001). The Social Psychology of Creativity: Effects of Evaluation on Intrinsic Motivation and Creativity of Performance. In: Harkins, S.G. (eds) Multiple Perspectives on the Effects of Evaluation on Performance. Springer, Boston, MA. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4615-0801-4_3

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4615-0801-4_3

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Boston, MA

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