Original thinkers are more likely to cheat than less creative people, possibly because this talent increases their ability to rationalize their actions, stated in a press release from the American Psychological Association.
“Greater creativity helps individuals solve difficult tasks across many domains, but creative sparks may lead individuals to take unethical routes when searching for solutions to problems and tasks,” said lead author of the study Francesca Gino of Harvard University.
The researchers used a series of recognized psychological tests and measures to gauge research subjects’ creativity. They also tested participants’ intelligence.
In each of the five experiments, participants received a small sum for showing up. Then, they were presented with tasks or tests where they could be paid more if they cheated. For example, in one experiment, participants took a general knowledge quiz in which they circled their answers on the test paper. Afterward, the experimenter told them to transfer their answers to “bubble sheets” – but the experimenter told the group she had photocopied the wrong sheet and that the correct answers were lightly marked. The experimenters also told participants they would be paid more for more correct answers and led them to believe that they could cheat without detection when transferring their answers. However, all the papers had unique identifiers.
The results showed the more creative participants were significantly more likely to cheat, and that there was no link between intelligence and dishonesty.