The Risky Side of Creativity: A Scientific Investigation of Creativity and Domain Specific Risk Taking
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Previous researchers have often speculated about the role of risk taking in creativity, however this association has rarely been systematically investigated. This thesis explores the association between domain specific risk taking and creativity in human participants. It presents a systematic review of the speculations and scientific studies which aimed at uncovering the association between creativity and risk taking in various populations. This discussion aims to bring together the current knowledge centred around the link between risk taking and creativity and poses two overarching questions – Are creative individuals risk takers and if so, is this association domain specific? In five studies, the present research investigated these questions and found that creativity is strongly associated with risk taking in the social domain (but not in the financial, ethical, health/ safety or recreational domains). Additionally, with an aim to further disentangle the association between creativity and risk taking in specific populations and social situations, this thesis explored creativity in a specific group of individuals (sexual minority) who are speculated to be highly creative and are known to be more likely to take health/ safety risks such as smoking tobacco, consuming illegal drugs or engaging in unsafe sexual encounters. It was found that sexual minority (specifically bisexual individuals) were highly creative and were also more likely to take risks in various domains. As opposed to the sexual minority, another group of individuals in which creativity and risk taking are hypothesised to be different, consists of individuals who subscribe to the right-wing socio-political ideologies. As predicted, individuals who affiliated to the right-wing socio-political ideologies (in the United States) were found to be low on creativity and were significantly less likely to take risks, specifically in the social domain. A mediating role of social risk taking on the relationship between sociopolitical attitudes and creativity was also found. The research work presented in this thesis illustrates the role that social risk taking plays in creativity and paves way for the development of new ways to foster creativity.