Creative people more likely to cheat: Study

The research found that when it comes to money, creative people are more likely to cheat to get it than their less-imaginative counterparts. They may be more skilled at coming up with reasons for their less-than-ethical actions, the researcher said.

“Greater creativity helps individuals solve difficult tasks across many domains, but crea­tive sparks may lead individuals to take unethical routes when searching for solutions to problems and tasks,” Fr­an­ce­sca Gino, who led the study, was quoted as saying by LiveScience.

In the new study, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, the researchers measured the creativity and intelligence of 97 university students by asking them to complete a series of recognised psychological tests.

The participants then subjected to several experiments to determine whether the creative types are more likely to cheat under circumstances where they can justify their dishonesty.

In one experiment, participants looked at drawings with dots on two sides of a diagonal line and had to figure out which side had more dots. However, in half of the 200 trials, it was virtually impossible to tell by looking if one side of the drawing contained more dots than the other.

The participants were told that they would be paid 10 times as much for each “right side” decision as for a “left side” decision. It was found that those who had scored highest on creativity on the psychological tests were significantly more likely to give the answer that paid more, despite how ambiguous it was.

In another experiment, they completed a general-knowledge quiz and were asked to transfer their answers onto a standard “item-response” test sheet. They were also told that the wrong sheet and the correct answers were lightly marked.

The researcher also made them to believe that they can cheat while transferring the sheets and get more money for correct answers. And again, it was found the more creative ones were significantly more likely to cheat than those who were less creative.

Although the researchers found a link between creativity and dishonesty, they did not find a link between intelligence and dishonesty. For example, the experiments showed that intelligent-but-less-creative people were no more inclined toward dishonesty than less-intelligent and less-creative participants.

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