Low power warm-up effect: Understanding the effect of power on creativity over time

Sahoon Kim, Brian J. Lucas, Jack A. Goncalo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Prior research suggests that having power makes individuals more creative, because the powerful are more willing to break with convention. We investigate the possibility that lower power individuals can also be creative when given the opportunity to warm up by completing a creative task more than once. In Study 1 (N = 153), we divided a creative ideation session into two consecutive rounds and found that low (vs. high) power individuals were less creative in the first round (replicating prior research), but low power individuals improved in the second round, attenuating the low power disadvantage. We replicated this effect in Study 2 (N = 121; pre-registered), with a different creativity task (i.e., structured imagination task) and expanded timeframe (i.e., five rounds instead of two). In Study 3 (N = 179; pre-registered), we again replicated the warm-up effect using two different creativity tasks that allowed us to rule out an alternative explanation. We conclude by discussing the theoretical implications of our findings for research on the dynamic effects of power on creativity and the practical implications for creativity, social equality, and education.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104474
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
StatePublished - Jul 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Creativity
  • Open data
  • Open materials
  • Power
  • Pre-registered
  • Social structure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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