Loneliness, Group Relevance, and Creativity
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The main goal of this study was to examine loneliness as an impetus or hindrance for creativity. In order to do so, loneliness was manipulated. Loneliness was primed by asking participants to visualize themselves as college freshmen, alone in their room without any friends, whereas connectedness was primed by asking participants to visualize themselves with a supportive friend. Participants were then asked to create a slogan and were informed that they could get money ($25) for creating a creative slogan. Relevance of the creativity outcome was manipulated by asking either what the participant would like to spend his or her money on (self-relevance), or to which organization he or she would like to donate the money to (group-relevance). It was assumed that when people are made to feel lonely, they would be more creative, but only if they felt that their creativity would not alienate them from a group. Second, if people feel that being creative alienates themselves from a group, they will be less likely to express themselves, but only if they feel lonely. It was therefore predicted that participants would be more creative in the group relevance condition than the selfrelevance condition when they were made to feel lonely because they would want to engage with the group to reconnect to others. Second, it was predicted that participants in the connectedness condition would not be particularly creative in either the self- or group relevance condition due to having their connectedness needs fulfilled, which would remove the need to engage with a group and also alleviates feelings of guilt from attempting individuation. Analyses suggested that loneliness did not have a significant effect on creativity, while relevance had a marginally significant effect on creativity. Participants in the self-relevant condition tended to produce more creative slogans than those in the group-relevance condition. These results go against both hypotheses for this study. A discussion of these effects and ideas for follow-up work are included in the discussion section.
A Thesis Submitted In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science-Psychology Cognitive and Affective Science