Can stress and bad moods spur creativity?

According to research by professor Modupe Akinola of Columbia Business School and colleagues, negative mood-triggering situations and stress can in some ways enhance creative expression.

An article on the research asks, “Where does creativity come from, and how can it be harnessed?

“The answer may be a dark one, says Professor Modupe Akinola, whose research examines how stress affects performance.

“Consider the archetypical artist-as-tortured-genius.

“Vincent van Gogh was said to have painted some of his best known works, such as Starry Night, after some of the most trying events in his life,” she says.

“Akinola wanted to learn if there are personality characteristics that, when coupled with situational factors like mood, can enhance creativity. “If you make someone unhappy or stressed out,” she asks, “will he be more creative?”

Continued in The Dark Side of Creativity


Video from ColumbiaBusiness — “Creativity is an essential element of 21st century organizations, differentiating successful companies from their competitors. In this lecture, Professor Modupe Akinola of the Management Division at Columbia Business School discusses how managers can foster creativity in themselves and their employees. Professor Akinola, who researches how biological and social pathways affect creative thought, distills decades of scientific research into practical advice for the manager seeking ways to build a culture of creativity within the workplace.”


developing creativity, psychology of creativity, creative inspiration, creative expression, creative experience, creative anxiety

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