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Trait and State Based Experience of Awe Promotes Creativity


Creativity has many benefits and scientists seek to understand what fosters it. Extant research suggests that positive emotions foster creativity. Guided by the appraisal-tendency framework, which details how closely related emotions differentially influence cognitive processes, four studies (N = 1,508) documented that trait and induced awe, compared to amusement, promotes creativity. Two trait based studies found that awe-prone people in the USA, Iran, and Malaysia reported more creative tendencies (Study 1) and were more likely to solve a creativity problem (Study 2). Turning to state-based awe, people experimentally induced to experience awe were more likely than people induced with amusement to consider unconventional associations (Study 3) and generate original ideas (Study 4). However, Study 5 (N = 152) did not reveal significant difference across experimental conditions on the Duncker Candle Task using the actual materials in the laboratory. This is the first set of studies that documented the unique contribution that awe has on promoting creativity.

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