Creative responses to imminent threats: The role of threat direction and perceived effectiveness
Abstract Previous work on the threat-creativity link has mainly used paradigms in which participants had ample time to generate ideas. However, people under imminent threats have limited time to think of, and select, the single best response for actual implementation. In three studies, we examined the effect of imminent threats on the generation and selection of threat responses. Participants facing self-directed or other-directed threats were asked to select one out of two alternative responses that differed on either originality or usefulness to deal with the displayed situation (Studies 1 and 2) or think of and decide on, a fitting response themselves (Study 3). They did so under high or low time pressure (Studies 1–3) and reported their perceived effectiveness of each alternative response in managing the threats (Study 2). Participants selected and generated useful rather than original responses. Whereas time pressure did not moderate this effect, threat direction impacted the selection and generation of imminent threat responses: Self-directed rather than other-directed threats increased the selection and generation of original and creative responses because original responses were seen as more effective.
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