Within-person relationships between mood and creativity

March Leung To, Cynthia D. Fisher, Neal M. Ashkanasy, Patricia A. Rowe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

157 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


State mood has been proposed as a facilitator of creative behavior. Whereas positive mood compared to neutral mood generally facilitates creative performance, mood effects are weaker and less consistent when positive mood is compared to negative mood. These inconsistent results may be due to focusing only on mood valence, while neglecting or confounding mood activation. The current study is based on the dual-pathway model, which describes separate roles for mood valence and mood activation in facilitating creativity. We used experience sampling methodology to investigate the concurrent and lagged effects of mood valence and activation on creative process engagement (CPE) within-person over time among individuals working on a long-term project requiring creativity. We also investigated the moderating effects of individual differences in goal orientation and supervisory support on within-person mood-creativity relationships. As expected, we found that activating positive and activating negative moods were positively associated with concurrent CPE, whereas deactivating moods of both valences were negatively related to CPE. Activating negative mood had a significant lagged effect on CPE, whereas activating positive mood did not. We also found that activating positive mood was more strongly related to concurrent CPE among individuals with high rather than low learning goal orientation. Further, activating positive mood interacted with prove goal orientation and supervisory support for creativity, such that activating positive mood had the strongest association with CPE when both prove goal orientation and supervisory support were high. 

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)599-612
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Applied Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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