(Photo:Flickr/Norman Lear Center)

For as much as it is suggested that society champions creative thinking, a soon-to-be-published study discovered not only that people commonly shy away from creative ideas, but that most people are unable to even recognize a creative suggestion when it is placed before them. Instead, researchers say, people are more likely to choose ideas that are practical and that feature steps with which they are familiar.

The study reports on two experiments that took place at the University of Pennsylvania with more than 200 participants. Researchers found that being introduced to novel ideas can trigger feelings of uncertainty in many people, making them feel uncomfortable. However, because this anti-creativity bias is so subtle, many people are unaware of it.

According to the authors, “Our findings imply a deep irony revealing the existence and nature of a bias against creativity can help explain why people might reject creative ideas and stifle scientific advancements, even in the face of strong intentions to the contrary.”

Heather Rudow is a staff writer for Counseling Today. Email her at hrudow@counseling.org.

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