Article | Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin | 1982

Children's Artistic Creativity: Detrimental Effects of Competition in a Field Setting

by T. M. Amabile


Girls whose ages ranged from 7 to 11 years made paper collages during 1 of 2 residential parties. Those in the experimental group were competing for prizes, whereas those in the control group expected that the prizes would be raffled off. Artist-judges later rated each collage on several artistic dimensions, including creativity, technical goodness, and aesthetic appeal. A high level of interjudge reliability was found, and there was a clear separation between creativity judgments and judgments of technical goodness and aesthetic appeal. The control group was significantly higher than the experimental group on judged creativity of the collages and on several other dimensions of judgment that correlated with creativity. The control group was lower, however, on some dimensions related to technical aspects of the performance. In addition, there was significantly more variability in the control group on a number of objective features of the collages. The results are consistent with the proposition that intrinsic motivation is conducive to creativity, while extrinsic motivation is detrimental.

Keywords: Creativity; Early Childhood Education; Motivation and Incentives; Situation or Environment; Competition; Teaching;


Amabile, T. M. "Children's Artistic Creativity: Detrimental Effects of Competition in a Field Setting." Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin 8 (1982): 573–578.