Creative thinkers ‘likelier to cheat’
Washington: Probability of cheating is more in creative people than in the non-creative lot, a new study has suggested.
According to the research, this is possibly because of the talent possessed by the original thinkers, which increases their ability to rationalize their actions.
“Greater creativity helps individuals solve difficult tasks across many domains, but creative sparks may lead individuals to take unethical routes when searching for solutions to problems and tasks,” said lead researcher Francesca Gino, PhD, of Harvard University.
Gino and her co-author, Dan Ariely, PhD, of Duke University, conducted a series of five experiments to test their thesis that more creative people would cheat under circumstances where they could justify their bad behaviour.
The researchers used a series of recognized psychological tests and measures to gauge research subjects’ creativity.
They also tested participants’ intelligence. In each of the five experiments, participants received a small sum for showing up. Then, they were presented with tasks or tests where they could be paid more if they cheated.
The experimenters also told participants they would be paid more for more correct answers and led them to believe that they could cheat without detection when transferring their answers. However, all the papers had unique identifiers.
The results showed the more creative participants were significantly more likely to cheat, and that there was no link between intelligence and dishonesty – i.e., more intelligent but less creative people were not more inclined toward dishonesty.
The study has been published online in APA’s Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.