A recipe for success? Sustaining creativity among first-time creative producers

J Appl Psychol. 2023 Jan;108(1):100-113. doi: 10.1037/apl0001019. Epub 2022 May 12.

Abstract

Sustaining creativity is difficult. We identify the conditions that determine repeat production of novelty among first-time producers, and the psychological mechanism transmitting their effects. Our theoretical model highlights that the novelty of a first production can lower the probability of creating a second production, particularly when the first production is bestowed with an award or recognition. This effect occurs primarily because individuals who win an award for a prior novel production experience a greater threat to their creative identity when anticipating having to produce follow-up novel work. We test our theoretical model in three studies: an archival study of first-time cookbook authors in the United Kingdom and two experiments. Our results provide some support for our theoretical model-award-winning producers of novel cookbooks (or ideas for them) are less likely to follow-up their initial production with a second one, largely because of the potential erosion to a person's creative identity that doing so may cause. Our findings highlight the intricacies of sustaining creativity over time and offer insights into why some producers abandon their creative efforts. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2023 APA, all rights reserved).

MeSH terms

  • Achievement
  • Creativity*
  • Humans