Racial intolerance decreases creativity

Racial intolerance could reduce creativityResearchers have found that racial stereotyping decreases creative thinking as it makes the people more closed minded.

This research has been published online in the journal of Psychological Science.

“Although these two concepts (racial stereotyping and creative stagnation) concern very different outcomes, they both occur when people fixate on existing category information and conventional mindsets,” Researcher Carmit Tadmor of Tel Aviv University and her colleagues wrote.

Researchers have found that a racial essentialism – the view that racial groups have underlying essences representing deep-rooted, unalterable traits and abilities – and intolerance could stop thinking on alternative approaches or perspectives leading to closed mindedness.

In this study, researchers asked the participants to read one of the three articles to change their thinking about essentialism. One article represented fictitious scientific research supporting essentialists’ belief, other fictitious scientific research supporting non-essentialists’ belief and the third article was about the scientific properties of water. Participants were then given a creativity test.

Researchers found that the participants who were caused to think like an essentialist were less creative as compared to the participants in the other two groups.

This research shows that the essentialism cause negative effects on the people’s thinking by changing how they think rather than what they think. Follow-up study showed that increased closed-mindedness is one of the causes of decreased creativity. It has also been suggested that the essentialist’s beliefs are fairly malleable.

Researchers wrote, “Our findings have important implications for understanding the connection between racial intolerance and creativity.”


Tadmor, C., Chao, M., Hong, Y., & Polzer, J. (2012). Not Just for Stereotyping Anymore: Racial Essentialism Reduces Domain-General Creativity Psychological Science, 24 (1), 99-105 DOI: 10.1177/0956797612452570


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