Can the Promise of Reward Increase Creativity?

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Two experiments, involving 436 preadolescent schoolchildren, investigated how the explicitness of promised reward affects creativity. In the first study, the nonspecific promise of reward increased the creativity of picture drawing if children had previously received divergent-thinking training (generating novel uses for physical objects). In the second study, promised reward increased the creativity of children's drawings if current task instructions clarified the necessity of creative performance. Promised reward evidently increases creativity if there is currently, or was previously, an explicit positive relationship between creativity and reward.

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