Approach motivational orientation enhances malevolent creativity

Acta Psychol (Amst). 2020 Feb:203:102985. doi: 10.1016/j.actpsy.2019.102985. Epub 2019 Dec 18.


Three studies were conducted to investigate the relationship between motivation and malevolent creativity (MC). In Study 1, participants completed motivation scales and a measure of MC in online formats. Results showed that approach motivation accurately predicted MC, whereas avoidance motivation was negatively related to MC. In Study 2, participants solved MC problems in either approach or avoidance motivation conditions. Analyses revealed higher MC in the approach than in the avoidance motivation condition. In Study 3, participants were further asked to solve MC problems in one of the following conditions: approach-success/approach-failure/avoidance-success/avoidance-failure. The beneficial effects of approach motivation over avoidance motivation were again observed. Moreover, the experience of 'no closure' (failure in doing something) enhanced individual MC performance and counteracted the negative impact of avoidance motivation on MC. These findings indicate that individual MC performance might be enhanced by approach motivation and the experience of 'no closure'.

Keywords: Approach; Avoidance; Malevolent creativity; Motivation; Regulatory closure.

MeSH terms

  • Creativity*
  • Female
  • Goals*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motivation / physiology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult