Article | Journal of Personality and Social Psychology | February 1979

Effects of External Evaluation on Artistic Creativity

by T. M. Amabile

Abstract

Examined the conditions under which the imposition of an extrinsic constraint upon performance of an activity can lead to decrements in creativity. 95 female undergraduates worked on an art activity either with or without the expectation of external evaluation. In addition, Ss were asked to focus on either the creative or the technical aspects of the activity or they were given no specific focus. Finally, some Ss expecting evaluation were given explicit instructions on how to make their artworks. As predicted, Ss in the evaluation groups produced artworks significantly lower on judged creativity than did Ss in the nonevaluation control groups. The only evaluation group for which this pattern was reversed had received explicit instructions on how to make artworks that would be judged creative. A possible reconciliation of these 2 disparate results is proposed, and practical implications are discussed.

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

Citation:

Amabile, T. M. "Effects of External Evaluation on Artistic Creativity." Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 37, no. 2 (February 1979): 221–233.