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Study: People Are Biased Against Creative Thinking

samzenpus posted about 9 months ago | from the you-are-all-individuals dept.

Science 377

An anonymous reader writes "Despite how much people might say they like creative thinking, they don't, at least according to studies. 'We think of creative people in a heroic manner, and we celebrate them, but the thing we celebrate is the after-effect,' says Barry Staw, a researcher at the University of California–Berkeley business school who specializes in creativity. 'As much as we celebrate independence in Western cultures, there is an awful lot of pressure to conform,' he says."

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The problem: (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45638465)

Creative people just can't shut up and do what they're told.

Re:The problem: (5, Insightful)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about 9 months ago | (#45638735)

People are frightened by what they can't control, can't predict, and don't understand. That's why people invented gods to help explain unpredictable weather and other disasters. It works that way with people too. People want other people to be predictable, controllable, and understandable.

Re:The problem: (4, Interesting)

jones_supa (887896) | about 9 months ago | (#45638841)

Also, the hive mind.

Here is a good philosophical exercise that everyone can do. Think about your values and opinions on various things. Ponder which ones of them are just you repeating what you have been told to think about the particular topic.

Re:The problem: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45638903)

That's why people invented gods

You make three claims here. Please provide evidence in their favor.

Or are you, perhaps, a perfect example of the hive-minded anti-creative people who have jumped on the latest atheism fad where your new cult must be shoe-horned into every discussion.

Re:The problem: (0, Troll)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about 9 months ago | (#45638943)

Fuck off. I don't argue with true believers and I don't argue with brick walls. Both exercises are equally pointless. I can no more provide you with evidence of god's non-existence than I can provide you with evidence of the non-existence of unicorns. So if you want to believe in either, be my guest, sparky.

Re:The problem: (1, Insightful)

sumdumass (711423) | about 9 months ago | (#45639129)

I don't think he asked for evidence of non-existance but that humans created gods to explain what they cannot control.

However, it is noteworthy about how much blind faith you seem to have in asserting there is no god

Re:The problem: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45639151)

I find it amazing how much blind faith you seem to have in asserting there is no boogie monster....

Re:The problem: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45639143)

Brickwall, much?

Re:The problem: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45639193)

LMAO...Atheism a fad...Bwahahaha....yeah that's a good one. Next you'll tell me that being a vegetarian for 11 years is a fad too. You want to talk about something shoe horned into every discussion, how about we take a look at Christmas anywhere in the US for two whole months. Jesus/Santa..whatever is everywhere and in every news segment for two months straight. So yeah talking about creating gods as a means of explaining unknown phenomenon is a pretty non-threatening topic since it's widely accepted in just about any circle except for uber fundamentalists, or did you forget that 90% of the world is essentially wrong even if one religion is right?

Re:The problem: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45638995)

Silly mortal. Don't you know that God invented us?

Re:The problem: (0)

Rhywden (1940872) | about 9 months ago | (#45639099)

Nonsense. I certainly didn't create cowards!

Re:The problem: (5, Interesting)

blackbeak (1227080) | about 9 months ago | (#45639197)

Monotheism arose contemporaneously with modern civilization as a control framework for large societies. Monotheism encourages homogenous culture, thus discouraging creativity. Prior to that, polytheism, which implicitly implies multiplicity and diversity in all things, was the culture's guide. In a polytheistic culture every man can have his own muse without ridicule, fear or ostracism.

Re:The problem: (1)

genner (694963) | about 9 months ago | (#45639237)

People are frightened by what they can't control, can't predict, and don't understand. That's why people invented gods to help explain unpredictable weather and other disasters. It works that way with people too. People want other people to be predictable, controllable, and understandable.

In which religion can you control or even fully understand your god?
Naturalism lends itself better to the idea that the universe is understandable and controllable are you sure we didn't invent it?

Re:The problem: (4, Insightful)

lightknight (213164) | about 9 months ago | (#45639023)

Granted, but the other problem exists...without creativity, you become a soul-less automaton. Your whole world is a static dying place...dead because no new life is growing in it.

People are stupid. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45638473)

50% of people are practically morons. You cannot blame them.

Re:People are stupid. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45638529)

Only 50%? That's pretty good, then.

Re:People are stupid. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45638535)

50% of people are practically morons. You cannot blame them.

Well, you can blame them but they just wouldn't understand.

Re:People are stupid. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45638543)

and 90% of Slashdot. Face it, few here have any authority, mental or otherwise, to judge anyone.

Re:People are stupid. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45638759)

I bet you consider yourself to be in the remaining 10%. Am I right?

Re:People are stupid. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45639231)

I'm an atheist, but I tend to follow the principle of judge not, lest ye be judged. People shouldn't be evaluated and judged, their ideas should be. Just because someone has bad/wrong ideas doesn't mean that as a whole they are bad. That said if you're someone who gets their jollies off of murder/torture I don't mind removing you from the equation and putting your spawn under the doom of damocles.

Re:People are stupid. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45638601)

I've watched people with the most interesting—the most “out of the box”—ideas be ignored or ridiculed in favor of those who repeat an established solution.

Or get called stupid.

And in big corp America, you "don't fit in" and yet the CEO spouts how innovative his company is.

What sometimes happens, those morons go off start their own company, and on very rare occasions, do quite well for themselves.

Others happen to show their idea to an outsider and the outsider takes it and tuns with it (Steve Jobs and the GUI he saw a Xerox).

Those folks are then called geniuses.

Re:People are stupid. (1)

rjstanford (69735) | about 9 months ago | (#45639281)

Others happen to show their idea to an outsider and the outsider takes it and tuns with it (Steve Jobs and the GUI he saw a Xerox).

I think that you mean:

Others happen to show their idea to an outsider who licenses it in exchange for a significant percentage of Apple's stock and does a lot of hard work implementing the idea and converting it into a production-ready system (Steve Jobs and the GUI ideas he bought and then improved after he saw them at Xerox).

FTFY.

Re:People are stupid. (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 9 months ago | (#45638753)

Does anyone else think it's a travesty that our society allows people to reach adulthood while being so stupid? I think education should be a top priority, after that everything else will sort itself out within a generation.

Re:People are stupid. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45638831)

Exactly. The smart people will believe it's too expensive or not the right time to raise kids while the stupid people will fuck for fun and then have a bunch of kids. Soon there won't be any smart people left and the problem will be solved.

Re:People are stupid. (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | about 9 months ago | (#45639185)

Exactly. The smart people will believe it's too expensive or not the right time to raise kids while the stupid people will fuck for fun and then have a bunch of kids. Soon there won't be any smart people left and the problem will be solved.

Obligatory: http://xkcd.com/603/ [xkcd.com]

Re:People are stupid. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45638973)

I would argue that the current average is horrible. They almost seem sub-human. The amount of blind selfishness that I see in most people is clearly self-destructive, yet they keep doing it, like they have absolutely no control over themselves. Rational arguments mean nothing to these people.

Re:People are stupid. (3, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 9 months ago | (#45639295)

50% of people are practically thinking

I think that's what you meant to say.

Does this study show bias against creative thinking or bias in favor of thinking that promotes safety, security, comfort.

I used to think the world was just too stodgy for my brilliance. As I got older, I realized that I just lacked sufficient skill, empathy, finesse. It wasn't their problem, it was mine.

Study suggests (0)

fisted (2295862) | about 9 months ago | (#45638475)

that 87% of all studies are completely made up.

Re:Study suggests (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45638617)

91% of slashdot posters are more dismissive of articles they didn't bother to read than those they eventually do read after some insightful comments convince them it might be worth some of their time. And, 81% of moderators find the pithy knee-jerk pre-educated responses to be obnoxious.

Re:Study suggests (1)

fisted (2295862) | about 9 months ago | (#45638979)

you're 73% funny

Makes Sense (5, Insightful)

west (39918) | about 9 months ago | (#45638477)

Just like most mutations are unsuccessful, most creative ideas are not "welfare increasing", after all, the status quo came about for a reason and your idea has to be pretty clever to beat it in all, or even most, metrics.

Of course, on the off chance a creative idea *is* successful, we're all for it, but that's pretty hard to determine in advance. And more importantly, after the fact, all the discomfort from change (and one shouldn't underestimate how much change hurts psychologically) has already been paid for, so we can simply enjoy the benefits.

Re:Makes Sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45638551)

Why do you put "welfare increasing" in scare quotes? Either something is increasing welfare or not. Or do you make your claim on the basis of a method (e.g. sum utilitarianism) that you do not actually endorse?

Re:Makes Sense (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | about 9 months ago | (#45638643)

Maybe it's because the measure of welfare is itself subjective. The benefits of an idea are not often spread equally across society: with most change, there are winners and losers.

welfare increasing is complicated (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45638667)

Wether something increases welfare is a complicated issue. It depends on many things, like your point of view.

The state may want to build a hydroelectric power generator to provide power to a city, increasing welfare. But farmers may have their farmlands flooded (land next to rivers is often more fertile) destroying welfare as those farmers won't be able to grow food on that land.

Re:Makes Sense (1)

polar red (215081) | about 9 months ago | (#45638727)

It may even decrease welfare initially, and only later increase it.

Re:Makes Sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45638937)

Or the other way around.

Re:Makes Sense (1)

HogGeek (456673) | about 9 months ago | (#45638661)

It has always been my observation that people aren't afraid of change, rather people fear being changed...

Re:Makes Sense (4, Interesting)

m00sh (2538182) | about 9 months ago | (#45638873)

Just like most mutations are unsuccessful, most creative ideas are not "welfare increasing", after all, the status quo came about for a reason and your idea has to be pretty clever to beat it in all, or even most, metrics.

Of course, on the off chance a creative idea *is* successful, we're all for it, but that's pretty hard to determine in advance. And more importantly, after the fact, all the discomfort from change (and one shouldn't underestimate how much change hurts psychologically) has already been paid for, so we can simply enjoy the benefits.

The status quo doesn't have to come about because it is the best solution to a problem. There are many times when status quo can appear because it was first to the market, or because it was pushed by the giant gorilla of the market etc. Just look at web standards and internet and there are so many status quo ideas that are established not because they are the best but for a variety of different reasons.

Gene mutations are random whereas creative ideas are directed. Perhaps gene mutations would be comparable to random thoughts in people's heads. Creative ideas are more refined than that.

I agree that its hard to determine which creative idea is going to be successful and maybe even successful for completely different reasons. I admit than when Twitter first came out, I thought it was a dumb idea. But, there lies the problem. Out society of innovation is based on creative ideas and there are no ways of determining which ideas are great and which are not. As the article suggests, the only way to make your idea take effect is through extreme perseverance and mountains of rejection. I remember reading that JK Rowling had her Harry Potter manuscript rejected over a dozen times.

If there is an inherent psychological bias against new ideas, then maybe the psychologists should create a procedure in which we can develop new ideas without having the creative idea having to face rejections.

Healthcare.gov (-1, Flamebait)

sycodon (149926) | about 9 months ago | (#45639031)

Lots of creativity there.

Re:Makes Sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45639131)

Genetic mutations tend to be random. Most people who suggest new ideas aren't just producing random sounds so the comparison is flawed. Further I would suggest given the negatives that people receive for new ideas that they only generally put them forward when they genuinely believe they are of net benefit, although there might be a scam possible where this isn't the case

Conservatives Survive (5, Interesting)

pubwvj (1045960) | about 9 months ago | (#45638481)

Makes sense that there is some animosity to creativity.

Being conservative, doing the same thing that worked for your ancestors, is generally a good way to survive. Thus evolution would select for people who tend to be conservative and stick with the tried and true.

On the other hand, the guy who makes a pointy stick and sticks said stick in the side of an animal in attempt to kill and eat it providing more food for his family is being creative but if he picks the wrong animal he ends up rather dead. If he wins then he stands a chance of becoming the new tried and true, the new way. But until he proves it the majority of his peers are wise to be a bit hesitant to follow his lead. If he shows a good history of creative successes then adaptable individuals will follow him because that is a good survival strategy.

Re:Conservatives Survive (2)

mysidia (191772) | about 9 months ago | (#45638533)

On the other hand, the guy who makes a pointy stick and sticks said stick in the side of an animal in attempt to kill and eat it providing more food for his family is being creative but if he picks the wrong animal he ends up rather dead.

Small, incremental improvements.

Making the pointy stick is fine, but don't go rushing to animal killing as a complete replacement for berry gathering.

After all -- what happens if there are no animals, when you need food?

Re:Conservatives Survive (2)

somersault (912633) | about 9 months ago | (#45638659)

After all -- what happens if there are no animals, when you need food?

Humans are animals.

Tasty, tasty animals.

Re:Conservatives Survive (1)

polar red (215081) | about 9 months ago | (#45638757)

Small, incremental improvements.

there's a good chance to miss global maximum, and be stuck at a local maximum.
(see 'local maximum problem'/hill climbing)

Re:Conservatives Survive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45638849)

Nature doesn't care. Local maximums are good enough, else we wouldn't exist. In no way are humans anywhere near a global maximum.

Re:Conservatives Survive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45638677)

Resistance to new ideas and ways of doing things is also habitual; we also enjoy the comfort of predictability and simplicity because it's less stressful than constantly trying to adapt to new situations. This requires neural plasticity, which decreases with age, hence the difficulty of many elderly folks to "change with the times". Likewise, studies on teens have shown that they are less risk averse than older folks. They tend to rate reward much higher than risk, and each new generation seems to bring with it new ideas and change.

There are more interesting and subtle things at work too. In psychology, there were some studies done on "why 'smart' people have less 'common sense'". Or why smarter people seem to go out and do crazy/bizarre stuff. Anyway, the results of the study showed that people who were smarter were more likely to engage in novel activities and try more new and different (and consequently dangerous) things.

Re:Conservatives Survive (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 9 months ago | (#45638703)

Resistance to new ideas and ways of doing things is also habitual; we also enjoy the comfort of predictability and simplicity because it's less stressful than constantly trying to adapt to new situations. This requires neural plasticity, which decreases with age, hence the difficulty of many elderly folks to "change with the times". Likewise, studies on teens have shown that they are less risk averse than older folks. They tend to rate reward much higher than risk, and each new generation seems to bring with it new ideas and change.

"Science advances one funeral at a time."

Re:Conservatives Survive (1)

jythie (914043) | about 9 months ago | (#45638763)

More specifically, groups with a good mix of conservatives and progressives which can change the ratio quickly survive.

Re:Conservatives Survive (2)

Chrisq (894406) | about 9 months ago | (#45638775)

Makes sense that there is some animosity to creativity.

Being conservative, doing the same thing that worked for your ancestors, is generally a good way to survive. Thus evolution would select for people who tend to be conservative and stick with the tried and true.

On the other hand, the guy who makes a pointy stick and sticks said stick in the side of an animal in attempt to kill and eat it providing more food for his family is being creative but if he picks the wrong animal he ends up rather dead. If he wins then he stands a chance of becoming the new tried and true, the new way. But until he proves it the majority of his peers are wise to be a bit hesitant to follow his lead. If he shows a good history of creative successes then adaptable individuals will follow him because that is a good survival strategy.

I think you have highlighted the main issue "creative solution = risk", as well as " "creative solution = potential benefit". Where costs and/or risks are high people need to evaluate this rigorously. For example, a novel idea in dealing with nuclear waste might be brilliant, but nobody would want to use it without a rigorous trial (risk and cost is high), but an idea that crisps and tomato ketchup would make a great sandwich filling can just be tried (risk and cost low).

I can see a potential issue that people who are best suited to performing rigorous proofs of concept and trials are generally not going to be the creative type. This may mean there is a bias not to take the situation seriously (why are we wasting time testing this when we already have something that works reasonably well).

Re:Conservatives Survive (0)

gweihir (88907) | about 9 months ago | (#45638955)

It works until the conservatives become the dominant factor in the system. Then it fails catastrophically and the species dies out. The human race is steering towards this event at the moment.

Re:Conservatives Survive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45639155)

the guy who makes a pointy stick and sticks said stick in the side of an animal in attempt to kill and eat it...

That's a nice story, but your hominoid ancestors were killing and eating animals long before they had the brains to use a pointy stick. If you want a good estimate of how human beings became omnivores, look no further than the primates of today. It wasn't exactly the work of "invention", and nor did it involve peer review. It was merely the work of survival of the fittest, same as everything in the animal kingdom. The difference is that today human beings consider themselves "above" animals, even though their social structure is founded on violence (coercive authority), same as in the animal kingdom.

BZZZZT! Article Suspect! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45638483)

The mention of Steve Jobs as an "innovator" makes the article suspect. E.G. the author does not know what she is talking about.

Re:BZZZZT! Article Suspect! (1)

Crashmarik (635988) | about 9 months ago | (#45638573)

Indeed.

Re:BZZZZT! Article Suspect! (4, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | about 9 months ago | (#45638709)

To be fair, he introduced a lot of innovation into the mainstream, even if the ideas already existed beforehand.

The problem is that technically innovative people often aren't talented or even interested when it comes to marketing or interface design. Steve was good at bringing new ideas to market in a way that people found attractive and easy to use, and thus the ideas became mainstream.

As I usually say in reply to comments like this: I don't want an iPhone, but I'm glad they exist.

Re:BZZZZT! Article Suspect! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45639181)

Out of interest why are you glad they exist? I'm really not as they have helped perpetuated the lock in nature of the phone market

Re:BZZZZT! Article Suspect! (5, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 9 months ago | (#45638833)

The mention of Steve Jobs as an "innovator" makes the article suspect. E.G. the author does not know what she is talking about.

It's arguably worse than that: Jobs (and Apple generally) don't really do 'innovative', in the sense that nearly everything they produced had some sort of less-well-refined immediate antecedent elsewhere, or was purchased, or or the like. However, Jobs is quite notable indeed for his willingness to take successful products out and shoot them in order to make room for something new(even when the new thing is still not a safe bet in competition with the older; but cheaper, widely adopted, and widely accepted thing), to tell people who demand backwards-compatible whatever where they can file their futile protests, and other behaviors that, while not innovative in themselves, are more or less required to take an innovation from 'tech demo' to 'product' in a reasonable amount of time. On the other hand, of course, his enthusiasm for ruthless focus would likely have been a very poor fit indeed for a 'blue skies' R&D operation(and indeed, stodgy old Microsoft is the company that has one of those, and seems to carefully avoid applying what it comes up with to anything they actually sell...)

If you want to look at 'innovation' in an institutional context, he isn't a good example of it; but characters like him are clearly relevant to how the broader institutional context interacts with 'creative' or 'innovative' people.

So many people (1)

dicobalt (1536225) | about 9 months ago | (#45638487)

with so many bad ideas; some trying to do bad things.

Re:So many people (0)

Chrisq (894406) | about 9 months ago | (#45638787)

with so many bad ideas; some trying to do bad things.

But fortunately islam discourages individual or creative thinking

No wonder (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45638491)

People don't like those who risk. From where I stand, creative people risk resources, no matter how trivial.

Re:No wonder (2)

Lumpy (12016) | about 9 months ago | (#45638691)

Stand a little closer to the edge so us creative people can just give you a little push into the chasm of doom and get you off the resources we can turn into something wonderful.

My favorite pastime as I get older is throwing people who don't like change under the bus.

Re:No wonder (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45638699)

Please, share your techniques

Re:No wonder (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45638921)

ITT: Lots of dumb people trying to convince themselves they are special creative snowflakes and being douchebags about it.

You being a perfect example.

Re:No wonder (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45638969)

My favorite pastime as I get older is throwing people who don't like change under the bus.

You're planning to be the only old guy around ?

Re:No wonder (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 9 months ago | (#45638901)

People don't like those who risk. From where I stand, creative people risk resources, no matter how trivial.

It has to be more visceral than rational risk management. Creative people may have a wider risk/reward spread than others; but so do some financial instruments that even fairly stodgy investment types like just fine (so long as they can be aggregated to moderate a given portfolio's exposure to any one of them). Either people suspect that 'creative people', even as a class, cost more than they are worth, or they are irrationally leaving potential gains on the table.

Don't be a smart-ass (1)

mi (197448) | about 9 months ago | (#45638513)

Whatcha think you doing, smarty pants?

People don't like change (1)

asylumx (881307) | about 9 months ago | (#45638539)

Isn't this basically the same as saying people don't like change, which anyone with life experience would already know?

I wish they wouldn't change the way they say it, it makes me scared and confused.

Re:People don't like change (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 9 months ago | (#45638815)

Isn't this basically the same as saying people don't like change, which anyone with life experience would already know?
I wish they wouldn't change the way they say it, it makes me scared and confused.

Its not change that worries people, its change that takes them from their comfort zone. People wouldn't have much of an issue with cheaper flights, faster travel - but suggest that some trips can be replaced by videoconferencing..

The science is settled (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45638569)

Just conform, and you'll get your grant money.

George Bernard Shaw (4, Interesting)

zm (257549) | about 9 months ago | (#45638577)

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

Re:George Bernard Shaw (1)

justthinkit (954982) | about 9 months ago | (#45638645)

More appropriately:

Few people think more than two or three times a year. I have made an international reputation for myself by thinking once or twice a week. - George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)

Is it any wonder people are biased against someone who continually rocks their world, yet scores so infrequently?

Re:George Bernard Shaw (3, Insightful)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about 9 months ago | (#45638705)

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself.

And the real genius does BOTH.

Well, duh (3, Insightful)

argStyopa (232550) | about 9 months ago | (#45638589)

Culture and civilization are all great, but doesn't really change the fact that deep down we're social ANIMALS, and probably the greatest evolutionary advantage that we have had was that we could cooperate.

There's a clear Darwinistic pressure to confirm, so long as there's a little percentage of (expendable) individuals willing to experiment creatively - since for the bulk of history and prehistory, 'creativity' was a great way to get you and others killed.

Re:Well, duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45638657)

Culture and civilization are all great, but doesn't really change the fact that deep down we're social ANIMALS

I'm an antisocial plant, you insensitive clod! [youtube.com]

Creativity often equates to "Different" (2, Interesting)

Stolpskott (2422670) | about 9 months ago | (#45638591)

For many people/sheeple, they derive comfort from the idea that they are (a) Right, and (b) in the majority (with "right" being determined at the time with incomplete information by who is either in the majority or who shouts loudest).
Things like the medieval opinion that the world is flat, that women or specific ethnic/indigenous groups are unimportant/inferior, or the Standard Model of particle physics, and even with religion, show that there is great comfort in being in the majority.
Choosing to go against the majority can be a brave decision to stick up for your principles, or it can simply be a sign of bloody-mindedness with no better reason than a desire to not conform (guess who usually plays the Devil's Advocate in one-sided discussions?)
In many instances, humans exhibit a profound "herd animal" instinct, where the outsider/outlier is attacked, from children in the playground picking on the smallest or the one who is different because one powerful individual does so, to the people in a meeting rounding on a dissenting voice because their manager does the same. For those people, conforming to another person's idea is an easy thing to do because then it is not necessary to think about the situation and come up with your own opinion, especially if that opinion might align with the one being attacked so that you either have to support that individual and yourself face attack or willingly go against your opinion... better to not think at all and "go with the flow".

The critical thinker who is appreciated in their own lifetime is typically the one who comes with a blindingly obvious idea which improves things all round, whose idea does not cause the loud shouters to lose prestige or influence because they did not themselves see that idea. Given that most critical thinkers' ideas piss off at least a few people and show them as being wrong, it takes time until those loud people lose their influence (or those people find a way to adopt the new idea without losing face) before the critical thinker's contribution has a real chance of being acknowledged and properly valued.

Re:Creativity often equates to "Different" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45638669)

I think you confused critical thinker with creative thinker there at the end. Not mutually exclusive but is quite different by definition.
    Otherwise it looked pretty close to every place I've ever worked that I didn't start.

In the end you still need people to do the work, creative thinking and finishing the project are a hard combo to find. Really creative rarely has patients for all the details.

Re:Creativity often equates to "Different" (3, Insightful)

GrumpySteen (1250194) | about 9 months ago | (#45638793)

For many people/sheeple

And there's where I stopped reading your comment. If you can't refrain from using childish insults, you don't deserve to be heard.

Re:Creativity often equates to "Different" (1, Funny)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | about 9 months ago | (#45639187)

>> heard

or herd

Re:Creativity often equates to "Different" (2)

Lazere (2809091) | about 9 months ago | (#45639219)

Don't worry, I read the whole thing and now I want my time back. The entire comment is full of crap he either made up on the spot or "read somewhere". The end result is an almost-coherent mess that somehow got modded "interesting".

Re:Creativity often equates to "Different" (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 9 months ago | (#45639045)

And by the time they're acknowledged, they've often been beaten into submission. Or perhaps people just get less creative with age. Not sure which is more depressing.

The kicker... (3, Insightful)

fruey (563914) | about 9 months ago | (#45638631)

In terms of decision style, most people fall short of the creative ideal unless they are held accountable for their decision-making strategies, they tend to find the easy way out—either by not engaging in very careful thinking or by modeling the choices on the preferences of those who will be evaluating them.

This is the kicker. Not only do people reject creativity, but they hamper their own responses by conforming to what they think the boss will like. So if you don't agree with your colleague or their interpretation of what the boss will like, you're screwed. What tends to then happen is a breakdown in communication, as you will want to present to the boss directly instead of via the misguided (in your opinion) minion.

If people stopped trying to predict other people's reactions, they'd be more likely to be themselves. Sadly in the corporate world this means that bosses only get a limited set of responses from anyone not directly below them in the hierarchy. Shame.

Re:The kicker... (1)

sandytaru (1158959) | about 9 months ago | (#45638707)

It's not just what the boss will like, it's what the boss will accept. Get too creative and you step out of bounds of what your boss is willing to accept as work - you may be asked for a do-over. Probably less likely to happen in software development, but even someone going creatively off the requirements is going to be asked to "fix it" even if what they came up with is probably better in the long run.

Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45638647)

Everybody is a little bit crazy but usually creative people is prone to mood swings, egocentrism, lack of empathy, tendency to sociopathy, paranoia and even psicopathy. The more creative they are, the bigger the effect.
They will annoy you constantly with creative ideas that are completely useless 99% of the time and, of course, you really want to keep that 1% of geniality, but is really tiresome to deal with creative people every day...

And that's why so many voted for BO (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45638671)

People stopped thinking. They said they voted for Obama because he was black. Say what ?? That's racist. Others because he wasn't Bush. Say what?? Neither was Palin and her stupid side kick . But then they didn't count. Somehow anybody but Bush meant as far away from Bush as possible. And now?? Obama different all right; he's worse!

Re:And that's why so many voted for BO (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45638879)

Weak troll.

Problem Exacertbated When "Moral Risk" is Attached (2)

retroworks (652802) | about 9 months ago | (#45638675)

Good article. Having dealt with it for years, I think it's a little more complex than a general native tendency, however. A large packet of society defers decisions (outsources) to a higher authority. Those authorities demand structure to order the size of the authority delegated to them, and tend to view "outliers" collectively as a threat to that order. The hostility to creativity is particularly intense when the question is "moral authority". In science, the "out of the box" thinker has scientific method and an option or hope to "prove" or "demonstrate" their alternative, creative, view. In religion, a creative morality is considered a threat but it's very difficult to demonstrate credibility with anything other than generations of experience (I did X, which the Priestatollah said not to, and no hair on my palms etc).

Where science is vulnerable is when a morality is attached. I'm not advocating for scientists to be immoral. But certain branches of science (e.g. Environmental) are susceptible to moral authority, which makes them more susceptible to Priestatollahs opposing creative thinking.

As a creative thinker... (5, Funny)

Vitriol+Angst (458300) | about 9 months ago | (#45638687)

... I can attest to this bias against me, likely the cause of mega jealousy!

Non-Creative; "What do you make of this report?"

Me; "Well I can make a hat, an airplane or a little swan..."

Re:As a creative thinker... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45638729)

... I can attest to this bias against me, likely the cause of mega jealousy!

Non-Creative; "What do you make of this report?"

Me; "Well I can make a hat, an airplane or a little swan..."

And there's a SALE at Penny's!

No, really, there's a Christmas sale going on now.

Wait, let me start from the beginning ... the Earth was formed and was all hot and eventually cooled ....

Re:As a creative thinker... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45639081)

I hope you didn't have the fish.

no need to call them disgruntled spinsters anymore (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45638689)

with the 'new' (lost) hymen replacement procedure it's nobody's business as if guys really even cared hoping still that condoms are reusable.

free the innocent stem cells they have harmed no one

little miss dna cannot be wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45638721)

despite us fake heritage addicts like to pretend so

Creativity is not appreciated. (1)

Vitriol+Angst (458300) | about 9 months ago | (#45638697)

Until after the royalty check clears for the Patent Attorney.

You may never make good money as a creative, but darn it, you made someone happy and able to put their kids through college, so there's that to lift your spirits!

Pressure to conform? (2)

gfxguy (98788) | about 9 months ago | (#45638797)

That's because most people non-conforming are just doing something really dumb to be, you know, non-conforming. I admit I fall into that category of people who don't appreciate people acting like idiots so they can be "non-conforming," and I'm not going to "celebrate their diversity." On the other hand, people truly thinking outside the box, and trying new things creatively, are always tops on my list - even when it doesn't necessarily lead to something beneficial... but then they are like 0.00001% of those "non-conformists."

No, I'm ... doesn't (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45639001)

-Fry

Two parametres (4, Insightful)

joe_frisch (1366229) | about 9 months ago | (#45639013)

An idea can be judged on "creativity" and "practicality". A creative practical idea is a wonderful thing, but its also quite rare. Fairly often people use "creativity" to excuse not considering practical issues. Flying cars, stratospheric power generation kites, vacuum tube trains, etc. are all "creative" but are not currently practical. Some people, including me, get irritated when someone claiming to be creative effectively says: "here is my design for a flying car - just a few engineering details to work out", when in fact it is the engineering "details" that have prevented practical flying cars for the last 50 years.

"Biased"? (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 9 months ago | (#45639017)

How do they measure bias in this case? Don't you have to have a definable "neutral" point to measure bias from? How would you do that?

Kettering knew (1)

chriswaco (37809) | about 9 months ago | (#45639057)

"People are very open-minded about new things - as long as they're exactly like the old ones." - Charles Kettering

People are against Change, not Creativity (3, Insightful)

Tora (65882) | about 9 months ago | (#45639125)

The article is close, but just barely misses the mark.

People don't mind creativity on its surface, but what they dislike is the change that inevitably comes from it. People resist change, for all the reasons outlined in the article. People like things to stay the same, not change. And creativity drives change.

There's a great confusion about what creativity is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45639135)

There is a great confusion about what creativity is.

Creativity is being able to build up an explanation in your mind of a particular thing. It is a complex process. It allows us to speak to other humans and learn things from them by building up explanations from the words they speak.

It just so happens that the creativity required to understand ideas passed from another human is the exact same process that is required in order to learn things about nature. When you talk to someone, they have an idea in their mind which is inaccessible to you, the only way you can access it is via their words. These words themselves do not contain the full explanation/understanding. Each word is a mass of implicit meanings. A creative process is what allows us to covert these words into explanations and real understanding. Nature is the same: there is an objective truth there (reality), which is hidden from you, all you can do is run tests on nature. Those tests themselves do not contain these truths; they are full of implicity knowledge. To be able to interpret nature via these observations and create good explanations of what is happening requires creativity.

Creativity is being able to extract knowledge from things, be it people (talking), books (reading) or nature (science). Creativity is building up good explanations.

Humans are the only species we know of that can generate good explanations.

In human evolution, creativity initially involved so that we could learn existing knowledge better and pass it on, not so we could create better explanations of the world around us. It was only much later when this ability to create good explanations happened to be useful for understanding nature.

I am proudly biased against creative thinking (4, Interesting)

SirGarlon (845873) | about 9 months ago | (#45639163)

TFA is basically a "creative" type whining about her kind not being appreciated for their brilliance. For example:

A close friend of mine works for a tech startup. She is an intensely creative and intelligent person who falls on the risk-taker side of the spectrum. Though her company initially hired her for her problem-solving skills, she is regularly unable to fix actual problems because nobody will listen to her ideas. "I even say, 'I'll do the work. Just give me the go ahead and I'll do it myself,' " she says. "But they won't, and so the system stays less efficient."

If _nobody_ is listening to her ideas, let's run down the possibilities of why not:

  1. 1. Her ideas are crap and she's too sophomoric to know (Dunning-Kroger effect)
  2. 2. She comes across as an abrasive know-it-all, or her communication skills are severely deficient in some other way
  3. 3. A combination of 1 and 2
  4. 4. She is actually an unsung genius, all her colleagues are mendacious dullards, and life isn't faiiiiiir

If option 4 is correct, then she should start her own company. I suspect 3 is more likely.

Generally, I consider it more valuable to have someone who is a good listener, a quick learner, and works well with others. If you have an idea about changing the way the company does things, the burden is on you to demonstrate the value of that change. If you can't, then the "creative" idea isn't worth much.

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