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Outside Advantage: Can Social Rejection Fuel Creative Thought?

Sharon H. Kim, Johns Hopkins University
Lynne C. Vincent, Cornell University
Jack Goncalo, Cornell University

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Suggested Citation
Kim, S. H., Vincent, L. C., & Goncalo, J. A. (2012). Outside advantage: Can social rejection fuel creative thought? [Electronic version]. Retrieved [insert date], from Cornell University, ILR School site: http://digitalcommons.ilr.cornell.edu/articles/x

Required Publisher Statement
© Elsevier. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved. Final version to be published as: Kim, S. H., Vincent, L. C., & Goncalo, J. A. (in press). Outside advantage: Can social rejection fuel creative thought? [Electronic version]. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.

Abstract

Eminently creative people working in fields as disparate as Physics and Literature refer to the experience of social rejection as fuel for creativity. Yet, the evidence of this relationship is anecdotal, and the psychological process that might explain it is as yet unknown. We theorize that the experience of social rejection may indeed stimulate creativity but only for individuals with an independent self-concept. In three studies, we show that individuals who hold an independent self-concept performed more creatively following social rejection relative to inclusion. We also show that this boost in creativity is mediated by a differentiation mindset, or salient feelings of being different from others. Future research might investigate how the self-concept, for example various cultural orientations, may shape responses to social rejection by mitigating some of the negative consequences of exclusion and potentially even motivating creative exploration.

Suggested Citation

Sharon H. Kim, Lynne C. Vincent, and Jack Goncalo. "Outside Advantage: Can Social Rejection Fuel Creative Thought?" 2012
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/jack_goncalo/21