Can Conformity Be Creative?

I wanted to share one of my creativity research posts from Psychology Today, a great place to learn about topics in Psychology. This post is about how copying ideas that challenge your assumptions can increase your creativity. Click the abstract picture to read it if you’d like to know more. It opens in a new tab or window.

Published by

Thomas Ward

Professor Emeritus of Psychology, University of Alabama. Research focus on creativity.

6 thoughts on “Can Conformity Be Creative?”

  1. I’ve read the essay and the findings are quite good. But I would say it’s a conclusion that could swing either way. The onus is in the mind studying the object for conformity to take note of the basics and challenge itself to go beyond what it is seeing. If the contrary happens, we are left with copycats lacking ingenuity. Lovely read.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with the last conclusion – it can boost creativity and I think it is because the creative ideas are often appearing after seeing or hearing something

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for all the good discussion, and the clarification about where the onus is 😉 .As with most research, it is a statistical effect. On average, it’s better to be exposed to challenging ideas than not. And some people clearly benefited, and incorporated the new ideas into their own approaches. But the burden (to use a less loaded term 😉 ) is on the viewer. If one is open to new experiences and willing to work with them, benefits will accrue. If not, there will be less real change. There is a similar effect regarding exposure to other cultures. On average it benefits creativity, but primarily for people high in openness to experience.


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