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Connecting the Dots Within: Creative Performance and Identity Integration

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In two studies drawing from social identity theory and the creative-cognition approach, we found that higher levels of identity integration—perceived compatibility between two social identities—predict higher levels of creative performance in tasks that draw on both identity-relevant knowledge domains. Study 1 showed that Asian Americans with higher identity integration were more creative in developing new dishes using a given set of ingredients, but only when both Asian and American ingredients were available. Study 2 showed that female engineers with higher identity integration were more creative in designing a product, but only when the product was targeted to female users. These findings suggest that the psychological management of multiple social identities may be related to accessibility of multiple knowledge domains, which in turn influences creativity.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: School of Social Sciences, Singapore Management University; 2: Ross School of Business, University of Michigan; and 3: Department of Psychology, University of Michigan

Publication date: November 1, 2008

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