In creative settings, exposure to creative exemplar products may invite imitation and as such influence creative performance. In understanding creativity, it, therefore, is important to be able to predict imitation of creative exemplar products. Regulatory focus theory can do so, and leads to predictions that deviate from the existing body of knowledge concerning regulatory focus and creativity in the absence of exemplar products. In this study, we proposed that high creative exemplar quality elicits more imitation-and thus lowered creativity-for promotion-focused individuals, whereas creative exemplar quality does not affect the creative process for prevention-focused individuals. To enable a relatively objective measurement of creativity and imitation, these predictions were tested in a laboratory experiment. Results supported predictions, indicating that knowledge about how strongly people engage in imitation in the face of a creative exemplar product leads to more adequate predictions how creative people really are.

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ERIM Article Series (EAS)
Creativity Research Journal
Erasmus Research Institute of Management

Rook, L., & van Knippenberg, D. (2011). Creativity and Imitation: Effects of Regulatory Focus and Creative Exemplar Quality. Creativity Research Journal, 23(4), 346–356. doi:10.1080/10400419.2011.621844