Article | Creativity Research Journal | 1990

Social Influences on Creativity: Evaluation, Coaction, and Surveillance

by T. M. Amabile, P. Goldfarb and S. C. Brackfield


Two experiments examined the effects of evaluation expectation and the presence of others on creativity. In both experiments, some subjects expected that their work would be evaluated by experts, and others expected no evaluation. Evaluation expectation was crossed, in each experiment, with the presence of others. In the first experiment, the presence of others was operationalized as coaction; half of the subjects worked individually in small groups, and the others worked alone. In the second experiment, the presence of others was operationalized as surveillance; half of the subjects believed they were being watched while working. In both studies, subsequent creativity ratings of subjects' products were made by expert judges. Effects of evaluation expectation were consistently strong. On a verbal task in Study 1 and an artistic task in Study 2, creativity was lower in the groups expecting evaluation than those not expecting evaluation. Evidence for the social facilitation or social inhibition of creativity was less clear. Coaction had no effect, and surveillance had a weak negative effect. Moreover, there was some evidence that the effect of surveillance was due to experienced evaluation. The results are discussed in terms of motivational and cognitive influences on creativity.

Keywords: Creativity; Social Psychology; Situation or Environment; Motivation and Incentives; Performance Evaluation;


Amabile, T. M., P. Goldfarb, and S. C. Brackfield. "Social Influences on Creativity: Evaluation, Coaction, and Surveillance." Creativity Research Journal 3 (1990): 6–21.