The role of instrumental emotion regulation in the emotions-creativity link: How worries render individuals with high neuroticism more creative

Angela K Y Leung, Shyhnan Liou, Lin Qiu, Letty Y Y Kwan, Chi Yue Chiu, Jose C. Yong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Based on the instrumental account of emotion regulation (Tamir, 2005), the current research seeks to offer a novel perspective to the emotions-creativity debate by investigating the instrumental value of trait-consistent emotions in creativity. We hypothesize that emotions such as worry (vs. happy) are trait-consistent experiences for individuals higher on trait neuroticism and experiencing these emotions can facilitate performance in a creativity task. In 3 studies, we found support for our hypothesis. First, individuals higher in neuroticism had a greater preference for recalling worrisome (vs. happy) events in anticipation of performing a creativity task (Study 1). Moreover, when induced to recall a worrisome (vs. happy) event, individuals higher in neuroticism came up with more creative design (Study 2) and more flexible uses of a brick (Study 3) when the task was a cognitively demanding one. Further, Study 3 offers preliminary support that increased intrinsic task enjoyment and motivation mediates the relationship between trait-consistent emotion regulation and creative performance. These findings offer a new perspective to the controversy concerning the emotions-creativity relationship and further demonstrate the role of instrumental emotion regulation in the domain of creative performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)846-856
Number of pages11
JournalEmotion (Washington, D.C.)
Volume14
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2014
Externally publishedYes

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