Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Our review of the malevolent creative processes suggest that we have unintentionally avoided uncomfortable truths around who is capable of generating & instantiating malevolent ideas

Malevolent Creativity and Malevolent Innovation: A Critical but Tenuous Linkage. Samuel T. Hunter, Kayla Walters, Tin Nguyen, Caroline Manning & Scarlett Miller. Creativity Research Journal, Nov 21 2021. https://doi.org/10.1080/10400419.2021.1987735

Abstract: Interest is growing in the dark side of creativity and recent research has been instrumental in improving our understanding of the phenomenon. However, such efforts have also revealed confusion regarding the definition and operationalization of the dark side of creativity and malevolent creativity in particular. In response, we offer definitional clarity for both the generation of novel, malevolent ideas (i.e., malevolent creativity) as well as the implementation of those ideas (i.e., malevolent innovation). In addition, we present a framework outlining how and why malevolent ideas transition from ideation to implementation. This framework considers influences linked to both ability and willingness to engage in malevolent processes, spanning intrapersonal and interpersonal factors. Our review reveals a complex but tenuous link between malevolent creativity and innovation and one that requires consideration of the processes connecting the two. Moreover, our review of the malevolent creative processes suggest that we have unintentionally avoided uncomfortable truths around who is capable of generating and instantiating malevolent ideas. Implications and a plan for moving research forward are discussed.


From the Encyclopedia of Creativity, 3rd ed, p 177.

Malevolent Creativity

Creativity is often beneficial, however, people also generate novel ways to harm and hurt (Baas et al., 2019). Examples of malevolent creativity include data fabrication of scientists, dirty tricks in political campaigns and firms falsifying information. Provocative and threatening circumstances trigger malevolent creativity (Baas et al., 2019), so it is likely that competition increases creative malevolent responses.

Anecdotes support this notion. For example, to compete with Virgin Atlantic, British Airways resorted to dirty tricks, which included circulating rumors that Virgin CEO Richard Branson had HIV and telling Virgin’s customers that their flights had been canceled. In addition, the fierce competition in science leads some scientists to perform biased peer review, sabotage competitors, and engage in questionable research practices.

There is also empirical support that competition breeds malevolent creativity. In studies conducted in our lab, people who were engaged in a competitive game against another person came up with more malevolent uses for a brick (e.g., using a brick as a weapon, or to sink a body) than non-competing others (see e.g., Baas et al., 2019). Together, these findings suggest that competition may also fuel a much darker side of creativity by facilitating the generation of ideas that are malevolent in nature.

No comments:

Post a Comment