Most people would probably agree that creative ideas drive innovation. Along with many others past and present, recently retired Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs would certainly fall into the category of innovators. Around the time of his resignation in August 2011, the company responsible for the iPod, iPhone, and iPad had more available operating cash ($76.2 billion) than the U.S. government ($73.8 billion).1
But psychologists recently found that most of the same people who desire creativity are also biased against it, leading them to reject creative ideas before giving them a fair assessment. Could this explain why some also reject the idea of a Creator?
In a report scheduled to be published in the journal Psychological Science, Cornell University psychologist Jack Goncalo and two colleagues showed the results of two studies that compared what participants openly said about their views on creativity with how they reacted to novel ideas. The first experiment confirmed that participants showed “an implicit bias against creativity.”2 Further, the “anti-creativity bias is so subtle that people are unaware of it.”3
The second experiment investigated why the very person who says that he values new ideas can so often actually respond negatively to them—a situation the authors referred to as a “deep irony.” The investigators found that if a new idea elicited feelings of uncertainty, it was perceived negatively. Their results confirmed that “the motivation to reduce uncertainty when problem solving can activate the creativity bias.”2
Apparently, people tend to be governed by a deep-seated desire to maintain a sense of certainty. New ideas can trigger discomfort, since they introduce unfamiliar possibilities. The study authors cited research demonstrating that people have “a strong motivation to diminish and avoid”2 feelings of uncertainty. As a result, many will reject ideas that threaten feelings of certainty, regardless of whether or not those ideas have merit….
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