The effects of promotion and prevention cues on creativity

J Pers Soc Psychol. 2001 Dec;81(6):1001-13. doi: 10.1037//0022-3514.81.6.1001.


This study tested whether cues associated with promotion and prevention regulatory foci influence creativity. The authors predicted that the "risky," explorative processing style elicited by promotion cues, relative to the risk-averse, perseverant processing style elicited by prevention cues, would facilitate creative thought. These predictions were supported by two experiments in which promotion cues bolstered both creative insight (Experiment 1) and creative generation (Experiment 2) relative to prevention cues. Experiments 3 and 4 provided evidence for the process account of these findings. suggesting that promotion cues, relative to prevention cues, produce a riskier response bias (Experiment 3) and bolster memory search for novel responses (Experiment 4). A final experiment provided evidence that individual differences in regulatory focus influence creative problem solving in a manner analogous to that of incidental promotion and prevention cues.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Achievement
  • Creativity*
  • Cues*
  • Humans
  • Random Allocation