Women’s Creativity: is Avoidance Motivation Associated with Diminished Creativity?
CitationArango, Susana. 2021. Women’s Creativity: is Avoidance Motivation Associated with Diminished Creativity?. Master's thesis, Harvard University Division of Continuing Education.
AbstractThe present study investigated the effects of avoidance motivation on male and female creativity in competitions. A mediation analysis was carried out to determine if avoidance motivation carries the negative effects of competition in creativity, and if this effect was more pronounced in females than in males. The study also examined how gender-role endorsements influenced participants’ performances on creativity competitions. Previous studies had uncovered two intriguing patterns: avoidance motivation diminishes creativity, and competitions tend to diminish the creativity of women. Yet, they had failed to make a critical connection that could provide a link between these two findings. The present study provides novel data on the connection between avoidance motivation and creativity in competitions. The study hypothesized that females would score higher than males on avoidance motivation when in competitions and that avoidance motivation would diminish their creativity. Furthermore, it was expected that the endorsement of feminine gender-roles would be positively correlated to avoidance motivation, while the endorsement of masculine gender-roles would show the opposite pattern. The study consisted of an experiment in which, via online survey, participants were instructed to complete two creativity tasks either in a competitive (experimental) or non-competitive (control) scenario. Participants were recruited through the Harvard Psychology Department’s Study Pool. Creativity was measured with a Divergent Thinking Task and the Remote Associates Test. Avoidance motivation was measured with the Behavioral Inhibition Scale. Other outcome measures included gender-role orientation, measured by the BEM Sex-Role Inventory, and personality traits, measured by the NEO-FFI. Results revealed that avoidance motivation scores were not related to creativity scores in either sex. What is more, most female creativity scores were not significantly decreased by competition. Men’s performance, on the other hand, diminished significantly in the competition group across all creativity measures. Masculinity gender-roles were associated to lower levels of avoidance motivation, but being male was not a good predictor of masculinity. This study provides evidence suggesting that females may feel increasingly comfortable and willing to engage in creativity competitions, and thus, their creative performance is unaffected by them.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37367510
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