People underestimate the value of persistence for creative performance

Brian J. Lucas*, Loran F. Nordgren

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations

Abstract

Across 7 studies, we investigated the prediction that people underestimate the value of persistence for creative performance. Across a range of creative tasks, people consistently underestimated how productive they would be while persisting (Studies 1-3). Study 3 found that the subjectively experienced difficulty, or disfluency, of creative thought accounted for persistence undervaluation. Alternative explanations based on idea quality (Studies 1-2B) and goal setting (Study 4) were considered and ruled out and domain knowledge was explored as a boundary condition (Study 5). In Study 6, the disfluency of creative thought reduced people's willingness to invest in an opportunity to persist, resulting in lower financial performance. This research demonstrates that persistence is a critical determinant of creative performance and that people may undervalue and underutilize persistence in everyday creative problem solving.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)232-243
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Volume109
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015

Keywords

  • Creativity
  • Effort
  • Fluency
  • Performance
  • Persistence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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