Misbehaving: Being Clever and Wicked Is a Form of Creativity

Hansika Kapoor: We looked at the problem through what psychologists call the four Ps of creativity — person (the individual engaging in the act), process (the strategy employed), product (the creative outcome itself), and press (the situation at hand.) After a series of five experiments, we concluded that negative creativity (product) is most likely to be displayed by highly intelligent persons, with subclinical negative personality traits such as psychopathy, especially in open-ended situations where deception can succeed. When creative people had a negative, morally questionable goal up-front, they were also more likely to lie. We confirmed the contention that the dark side of creativity exists, and is one that it’s important to acknowledge and understand. People can get hurt in surprising and original ways by practitioners of this dark craft. And, just as important, an entire set of misbehaviours with the potential to help us learn more about human creativity may be going unnoticed and ignored.

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