Do Depraved Thoughts Make You More Creative?

In an experiment, Protestants produced better, more creative work when they were induced to feel unacceptable desires and primed with words evoking depravity and damnation, says a team led by Emily Kim of the University of Illinois. For example, those who were exposed to words such as “dirty,” “punish,” and “forbid” and then asked to make a clay sculpture and write a poem were judged to have created better art (2.63 versus 2.30 on a 5-point scale) than those who had seen words such as “clean,” “reward,” and “virtue.” The effect was not seen among Catholics or Jews, the researchers say.

SOURCE: Sublimation, Culture, and Creativity

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