If You’re a Creative, You Might Be More Dishonest

Creatives are unique, clever, special people who deserve to be coddled and catered to; this is the myth of creativity that researchers are now suggesting may contribute to ethically dangerous behavior. In a fascinating new study, researchers Lynne C. Vincent (Syracuse University) and Maryam Kouchaki (Northwestern University, Evanston) have found that people who self-identify as creative are more likely to exhibit morally dishonest behavior, such as cheating and lying.

Why are creatives more likely to behave this way, as opposed to other groups??

“In our research, we’ve found that identifying as a creative person can also lead someone to be dishonest. This is because, at least in the U.S., creativity is often celebrated as a special attribute. The idea that creativity is rare leads to a sense of entitlement; if you are creative, you see yourself as more deserving than others,” Vincent and Kouchaki wrote in an articlefor the Harvard Business Review. “Leaders reinforce this when they don’t hold creative people to the same rules as those who are less creative, or when they give them special treatment.”

Over the course of four experiments, the researchers tested participants’ psychological entitlement associated with identifying as creative, as well as their related ethical behavior. The results? “When participants believed that their creativity was rare compared to common, they were more likely to lie for money. Moreover, manipulation of rarity of creative identity, but not practical identity, increased psychological entitlement and unethical acts,” according to the study....more