Divine inhibition: Does thinking about God make monotheistic believers less creative?

Verena Krause, Jack A. Goncalo, Carmit T. Tadmor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As individuals are given wider latitude to openly practice and express their faith at work, it is likely that believers will spend at least part of their working life actively thinking about God. Yet, despite the central role that belief in God plays in people's lives, research has given little attention to the impact of actively thinking about God on task performance. The current research investigates the relationship between monotheistic believers’ thinking about God and creativity. We conducted six studies using different populations, mixed methods and complementary measures of creativity. Our results, as well as meta-analyses of our experimental data, provide converging evidence that believers are less creative than non-believers and this effect is strengthened when they are actively thinking about God. Thinking about God activates the mindset of passive followership which inhibits the creativity of believers. We discuss potential implications for future research on religiosity, creativity and followership.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)158-178
Number of pages21
JournalOrganizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
StatePublished - May 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Belief in God
  • Creativity
  • Followership
  • Problem solving

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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