We Have a Creativity Problem


Outwardly, we praise innovation. Inwardly, we harbor a visceral aversion to it, studies have found.

Creativity is lauded as vital, and seen as the lifeblood of great entertainment, innovation, progress and forward-thinking ideas. Who doesn’t want to be creative or to hire inventive employees?

But the emerging science of implicit bias has revealed that what people say about creativity isn’t necessarily how they feel about it. Research has found that we actually harbor an aversion to creators and creativity; subconsciously, we see creativity as noxious and disruptive, and as a recent study demonstrated, this bias can potentially discourage us from undertaking an innovative project or hiring a creative employee.

“People actually have strong associations between the concept of creativity and other negative associations like vomit and poison,” said Jack Goncalo, a business professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the lead author on the new study. “Agony was another one.”


Richtel, M. (2022, April 16). We have a creativity problem. The New York Times. Retrieved February 1, 2023, from https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/16/science/creativity-implicit-bias.html