Why do people often fail to find new ideas creative? The literature indicates people fail to find creativity due to ideas having characteristics that are incongruent with people’s existing perspectives. The current paper identifies a second reason stemming from the need for evaluators to understand what ideas are before determining if those ideas meet evaluation criteria. We propose that to find creativity in early phase ambiguous ideas, people’s existing perspectives may not be helpful. People may need to engage in a process of perspective change by searching for and finding alternative fruitful interpretations. Three studies provide evidence that people tended to evaluate ideas as more creative if they spontaneously experienced (Study 1) or were induced to experience (Study 2) a change in perspective when evaluating them. Further, if people were induced not to experience a perspective change, ideas were perceived as less creative (Study 3). These findings add to theory by revealing new aspects of the process of evaluating early phase ideas. They also support practice by identifying why spending more time searching for and potentially finding fruitful interpretations of early phase ideas might help evaluators find creativity, and thereby support rather than squelch innovation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Visual Arts and Performing Arts
- Psychology (miscellaneous)