The Dark Side of Creativity - ISBN 9780521191715 - Cambridge University Press 2010



Asked myself several of questions related to the unethical use of creativity in the past. Also interested in creativity overall for Seedea:Research/Drive and knowing the ethical dubious way it can be used for, e.g. ScanningNotes#LegalStrategies.

Pre-reading model

Draw a schema (using PmGraphViz or another solution) of the situation of the area in the studied domain before having read the book.


  • 1 The dark side of creativity: what is it? Arthur J. Cropley
    • several mention of Richard Florida
    • description of chapters
    • questioning the neutral or positive view that seems to be mainstream
      • suggesting instead the creativity can be used to bypass limitations that can be ethical in the first place, coherent thus with Seedea:Research/Drive
    • "In the context of this book, creativity without morality is part of the dark side." (p10)
  • 2 Creativity has no dark side Mark A. Runco
    • "Creativity is indeed in some ways a tool of humanity" (p15)
    • "Creativity is inherently deviant." (p17) and linked to statistical deviance σ
    • mention of creativity functioning as an evolutionary process (ref to Simonton's Darwinian process and Campbell's selective retention)
    • importance of open mindness in the evaluation process
    • "That capacity for ideation is separate from the uses of the ideas" (p22)
    • "since ideation is a recursive process, with movement back and forth, from idea generation to idea evaluation and back again (Runco, 1994), it would be inaccurate to say that all options are produced (blindly), and then each of them is judged." (p26)
  • 3 Positive creativity and negative creativity (and unintended consequences) Keith James and Aisha Taylor
    • extending Amabile's model
    • study of lot of meta-analysis, yet most of them on the efficiency of creativity overall and only some regarding negative creativity
    • ill-defined tasks relevant to creativity, as opposed to well-defined qualified of non-creative tasks (p44)
  • 4 Subjugating the creative mind: the Soviet biological weapons program and the role of the state Maria N. Zaitseva
    • Soviet state and potential interplay between benevolent and malevolent creativity
    • research presented to their participant as a positive goal yet leading to a negative outcome
    • mention of
    • "that different knowledge environments produced different levels of creativity, even in the context of such top-secret and heavily guarded operation" (p63)
    • note on the ability to compartment work, except at the highest hierarchical strata
    • "the dilemma of cognitive dissonance affected creative individuals especially strongly. " (p66)
  • 5 Imagining the bomb: Robert Oppenheimer, nuclear weapons, and the assimilation of technological innovation David Hecht
    • also on an arm-race, nuclear and not biological this time, and thus about how to get an edge faster than the opponent in order to force him not to have it
    • "External factors as well as internal ones shape the consequences of a particular innovation. " (p77)
    • "the notion of innate meaning is an a historical concept, disregarding the fact that differing contexts can profoundly alter understandings of a subject. " (p77)
    • "[Oppenheimer's analysis] locates the blame for the emerging arms race in politics and diplomacy, not in the necessary consequences of the weapons themselves." (p86)
    • "fundamentally, and in the long run, the problem which is posed by the release of atomic energy is a problem of the ability of the human race to govern itself without war" (Rhodes, 1995) (quoted p88-89)
  • 6 The innovation dilemma: some risks of creativity in strategic agency James M. Jasper
    • mention and critic of game theory, lacking a "soft" side
    • "strategic creativity always entails risks for the creative player as well as for others. " (p92)
    • author own concepts, see also
      • innovation dilemma
      • sorcerer’s apprentice dilemma
    • note that arm race needs not to be wanted, or even it's first move wanted, but only interpreted as such to start countermeasures
  • 7 Creativity as a constraint on future achievement Jack A. Goncalo, Lynne C. Vincent and Pino G. Audia
    • "Proposition 1: Past success will cause people to be more prolific in terms of the number of ideas they are able to generate over time. " (p118)
    • "Proposition 2: Past success will cause people to generate ideas that are increasingly incremental over time. " (p118)
    • mention of Duncker's 1945 experiment with the candle and the match box
      • "the past experience of seeing a situation in a certain way constrained the heuristics used in the creative process by limiting subjects from generating novel solutions. " (p119)
    • "Proposition 3: A highly creative idea will constrain future creativity because all subsequent ideas will be framed narrowly from the perspective of the initial idea. " (p120)
    • "Proposition 4: Frustrated attempts to recreate the positive affect associated with early success can lead to a downward spiral of positive affect and creativity over time. " (p121)
    • "Proposition 5: The stifling effects of past success on creativity will be mitigated by the experience of negative affect because negative affect signals the need to change direction and explore new solutions. " (p122)
    • "Proposition 6: A highly creative idea will create a related <<role identity>> that will in turn constrain peoples’ ability to generate ideas that are inconsistent with that identity. " (p123)
    • "Proposition 7: strong role identity connected to a highly creative idea will lead to the formation of redundant ties that will constrain subsequent creativity. " (p124)
    • "Proposition 8: The constraining effects of past success on group creativity are moderated by causal attributions. 8a: Success attributed to the group as a whole constrains creativity, whereas success attributed to the individual stimulates the expression of creative ideas. " (p127)
      • something to take even more into account when conductive over a collaborative media (e.g. a wiki)
    • see also Elizabeth Gilbert on nurturing creativity TED 2009 and the stress of big achievement being, most likely, behind her
    • if one considers "social wisdom" abused by his own government, see Censorship
  • 8 Boundless creativity Kevin Hilton
    • Kev Hilton, Northumbria University, Newcastle UK
    • Cyclic Countering of Competitive Creativity (C4)
    • could Personas (p146) benefit from progresses in AGI?
      • are there already simulations?
    • "It has considered the meaning of boundaries or lack thereof and concluded that each community needs to agree to boundaries that are pro-social. " (p150)
  • 9 Reviewing the art of crime - what, if anything, do criminals and artists/designers have in common? Lorraine Gamman and Maziar Raein
    • Design Against Crime (DAC)
    • difference between creativity and innovation
    • linking creativity with dyslexia and the different recovering strategies
    • "ideas about the role of artistic transgression as a way to challenge the status quo has influenced many generations. " (p160)
    • "creatives and criminals, compared with the rest of us, may engage with processes of estrangement as a matter of course, and this may contribute to their innovative path-finding behavior. " (p163)
    • "Holden (1979) [...] suggests, using Darwinian rationale, that [...] genetic defects <<have social value and a certain amount of non-conformity actually helps the human species to perpetuate itself.>>" (p165)
    • Brain and Creativity Center at USC College of Letters, Arts, & Sciences
      • founded by Antonio Damasio and Hanna Damasio in 2006
    • "artists, designers, entrepreneurs, and criminals share divergent thought processes and, occasionally, similar creative strategies in their work. Opportunism and understanding of risk are a common link. " (p174)
    • A Wry Look at Design & Crime - The Dark Side of Creativity by Lorraine Gamman, Design Against Crime (DAC) 2008
  • 10 Creativity in confinement Jennie Kaufman Singer
    • "Technological strategies must evolve continually to keep up with inmates’ evolving ideas (Ryan, 2000)." (p184)
    • mention of Three Poems by
  • 11 Creativity and crime: how criminals use creativity to succeed Russell Eisenman
    • "We usually do not think of manipulation as being part of creativity, but any reflection will show that creativity enables a person to get what he or she wants. " (p204)
    • "clever criminal thinking is often creativity because criminals often employ novel means (or at least something most people would not think of) designed to further their dark, evil purposes. " (p208)
    • "confinement of creativity to a specific area [here, crime] is consistent with research showing that creativity is often domain-specific and thus does not negate the idea that criminals can be creative. " (p216)
  • 12 So you want to become a creative genius? You must be crazy! Dean Keith Simonton
  • Chapitre 13 Both sides of the coin?: personality, deviance, and creative behavior Luis Daniel Gascón and James C. Kaufman
    • Personality and its Determinants
      • the big fives: Openness (O), Conscientiousness (C), Extroversion (E), Agreeableness (A) and Neuroticism (N)
      • Age/Gender/Family
    • Creativity and Deviance
      • Problem Solving
      • Mood
      • Criminal Thinking
      • Strain
      • Impusivity
  • Chapter 14 Neurosis: the dark side of emotional creativity James R. Averill and Elma P. Nunley
    • mention of Freud and Jung with criticism regarding the very broad meaning of neurosis (p255)
    • "life questions that occasion neuroses are those which (a) lead to emotional responses and (b) call for creative solutions. " (p255)
    • "Escape from idleness can take two general forms:
    • "a loss of individuality is also a kind of death - a death of the self. Rank’s concept of death-fear focuses primarily on the latter meaning, that is, a loss of individuality. " (p262)
    • Shenger-Krestovnikova’s dog (p270)
  • Chapter 15 Dangling from a tassel on the fabric of socially constructed reality: reflections on the creative writing process Liane Gabora and Nancy Holmes
    • The Self-Made Worldview (p280) including mentions of worldview, autopeitic
      • "A human worldview is a unique tapestry of understanding that is autopoietic in that the whole emerges through interactions among the parts." (p280)
    • "the detached and cold stance of the empassioned, devoted artist, the double life of being engaged in the world and necessarily outside it." (p288)
    • "Mother Nature minimizes the dark side of creativity operates at the level of the social group. In a group of interacting individuals, only some need be creative. The rest can reap the benefits of the creator’s ideas without having to withstand the dark aspects of creativity simply by copying, using, or admiring them. " (p289)
    • mention of EVOC: A Computer Model of Cultural Evolution by Liane Gabora
    • very poetic conclusion "you’re not alone and that it is with you [creative type with an unique worldview] that the potential for human transformation resides." (p293)
    • see Michel Serre on the "good" student vs. the truly smart one and the possible resulting exclusion
  • Chapter 16 Creativity in the classroom: the dark side Arthur J. Cropley
    • "Teachers are, at best, ambivalent about creativity in the classroom. Although they express admiration of it in theory, they often dislike it in practice. " (p299)
    • "seeing that something is wrong with existing knowledge and being unwilling to accept the situation are core properties of the creative individual. " (p305)
  • Chapter 17 The dark side of creativity and how to combat it Robert J. Sternberg
    • "Creativity thus has an element of relativism, in the sense that how creative someone is depends on who is doing the judging" (p316)
    • "conventionally smart people have been so highly rewarded for being smart that they lose sight of their own limitations. Wisdom requires one to know what one does know and does not know. " (p322)
    • "As a society, we could do something about [the cost of the dark side of creativity and intelligence] if we chose to teach for wisdom" (p327)
  • Chapter 18 A systems engineering approach to counter terrorism Amihud Hari
    • using functional creativity as novelty and effectiveness but also elegance and genesis
    • incorporation of agile practices
    • concluding on the assessment of the 10-steps integrated customer-driven design method (ICDM) methodology performance
  • Chapter 19 Malevolent innovation: opposing the dark side of creativity David H. Cropley
    • "Whether used consciously or unconsciously, creativity is as much a weapon for terrorists as it is for business executives. " (p339)
    • searching for ways to inhibit creativity for the terrorist party
  • Chapter 20 Summary - the dark side of creativity - a differentiated model David H. Cropley
    • the importance of recognizing the distinction
    • removing idealism
    • consequences of maintaining that blindspot in history
    • how to correct negative behaviors
    • ways to understanding the shift from on side to the other
    • finally Table 20.3. Product, person, process, and pres - types of malevolent creativity (p369)
      • Conscious benevolence = Good Product with Benevolent Person (intent) with Supportive Process/press
        • what Innovativ.IT is focusing on, conscious benevolence creativity
    • concluding that "creativity has two basic side - the bright and the dark. The three dimensions discussed result in eight specific manifestations of creativity." (p372)

See also

Overall remarks and questions

  • no mention of Wikipedia:ArsA8ne Lupin
  • On the overall importance of being skeptical of what is universally acclaimed, especially what I personal believe in as for example the recently discovered ScanningNotes#TheNetDelusion.
  • This can also be helpful in understanding possible false dichotomy as for example hacker or pirate novel means of bypassing existing barriers that are not necessarily moral but rather solely coherent with the dominant model.


So in the end, it was about X and was based on Y.


Point A, B and C are debatable because of e, f and j.


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Post-reading model

Draw a schema (using PmGraphViz or another solution) of the situation of the area in the studied domain after having read the book. Link it to the pre-reading model and align the two to help easy comparison.


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Other read books linking to the TheDarkSideOfCreativity page :

The Tinkerer's Accomplice

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