Liars and Cheats Make for Better Artists

By Gerald Lynch on at

He may have been Geppetto's creation, but Pinocchio may have been the real artist out of the two, if a new study from Harvard University researchers is accurate. They have found a strong correlation between lying and creative abilities.

After a simple puzzle solving test (which included a candle, a box of pins, a pack of matches and a cardboard wall -- don't ask) to assess a "baseline" creativity score, participants were tested on a few mathematical problems. Subjects tested were allowed to score their own maths quizzes, and those that lied were found to have significantly more creative responses to a word association test carried out immediately after it.

The experiments "demonstrate that people may become more creative after behaving dishonestly because acting dishonestly leave them feeling less constrained by the rules," stated Francesca Gino, the study's lead author.

"Our research raises the possibility that one of the reasons why dishonesty is so widespread in today's society is that by acting dishonestly, people become more creative. [That] allowed them to come up with more creative justifications for their immoral behaviour and [makes them] more likely to behave dishonestly, which may make them more creative, and so on." [Harvard University via Motherboard]

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