Study: Is Happiness Bad for Creativity?

Quartz: “Computational scientist Anna Jordanous at Kent University and linguist Bill Keller of Sussex University in England dug through through over half century of study on the creative process in various fields, and isolated 14 components of creativity. Happiness wasn’t one of them … rigor is the key to overcoming obstacles and completing tasks—and good mood doesn’t improve problem-solving, which involves judgments that almost by necessity won’t feel good: critique and evaluation, experimentation and failure … In other words, negative emotions are actually beneficial to the creative process.”

“Likewise, Rice University psychology professors Jennifer George and Jing Zhou have found that challenges don’t necessarily make us happy, but they do yield good creative work. That’s because, their work found, when bad moods or feelings are expressed they signal problems—which then inspires fixes and improvements.”

“Over 160 employees reported on manager support and personal moods during a week while their bosses assessed them on their creativity. The workers who were rated most creative reported experiencing both strong negative and positive moods and felt they had supportive managers. Happier workers with good bosses, however, were rated significantly less creative than those with mixed emotions. Employees with mixed feels and bad bosses rated least creative.”

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