Regulatory Focus, Task Engagement and Divergent Thinking

Frederik Beuk and Tim Basadur (2016), Regulatory Focus, Task Engagement and Divergent Thinking

Abstract

We investigate the effect of individuals’ regulatory focus on divergent thinking performance.We analyzed 3576 ideas, generated by 341 English-speaking adults who participated in two separate divergent thinking tasks. A promotion focus results in higher levels of creative potential. Based on regulatory fit theory,we find that task engagement mediates the positive effect of a promotion focus on creative potential. Our findings are robust regardless whether fluency, flexibility or uniqueness is used as the creative potential measure. Our study further uncovers that regulatory focus does not only change the quantity of ideas, but also impacts the type of ideas generated. Promotion focus individuals generate a broader range of ideas than prevention focus individuals.

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