Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Incentivizing creativity through suffering?

Ana Swanson at the Washington Post reports on a study that appears to connect unhappiness with greater creativity.  If we care about incentivizing creative output, should we therefore deliberately torment artists?
Borowiecki’s analysis suggests that negative emotions are not just correlated with creativity but that they actually have a causal effect on it. Using econometrics, he calculates that a 9.3 percent increase in negative emotions leads to a 6.3 percent increase in works created in the following year. To generate an entire important composition in the next year, the composer would need to see his negative emotions increase by about 37 percent. “Creativity, measured by the number of important compositions, is causally attributable to negative moods, in particular to sadness,” he writes.

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