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Creative People Cheat the Most

Here's a secret not everybody knows: Creative people are more likely to cheat than less creative people, probably because they CAN. Their creativity increases their ability to rationalize their actions.

Psychologist Francesca Gino says, "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." Gino conducted a series of experiments to test her thesis that more creative people would cheat under circumstances where they could justify their bad behavior.

In each of five experiments, participants received a small sum for showing up. Then, they were presented with tasks or tests where they could be paid more if they cheated. The results showed the more creative participants were significantly more likely to cheat, and that there was no link between intelligence and dishonesty. In other words, more intelligent people were not inclined towards dishonesty unless they were ALSO creative.

The authors admit that they created a situation in which participants were tempted by money to cheat. They suggested that future research should investigate whether creativity would lead people to satisfy selfish, short-term goals rather than their higher aspirations when faced with self-control dilemmas, such as eating a slice of cake when trying to lose weight.

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