Are Creative People More Arrogant?

Author: Steve Woods
Published: July 24, 2011 at 4:20 pm

Do you consider yourself to be very creative? According to a recent study, incredibly creative and enigmatically tragic artists such as Amy Winehouse thrive (and suffer) not only due to their almost magical skill, but also because of the dual-edged sword of their very personalities.

A group of researchers from the University of North Carolina, California State University San Bernardino and the University of Nebraska tackled the long-held belief that more creative types think differently than the rest of us. The results of their research can be found in the Journal of Personality and Individual Differences.

In light of the untimely death of singer Amy Winehouse, long covered in the media for depression and substance abuse, research into what makes artists tick could prove enlightening. Are more creative types simply more arrogant? Are they more self-absorbed than the typical person? Can we learn to understand the odd, seemingly self-absorbed personality quirks in mega-star artists such as Lady Gaga, Michael Jackson and Amy Winehouse?

Over 1,300 college students were provided questionnaires by the study's psychologists, measuring the students' creative proclivities in the areas of art and/or crafts, acting, and creative writing. A variety of social-based personality attributes were also taken into account, including humility, honesty and agreeableness.

The study found that participants who were more creative tended to be less humble and modest than the rest. As in extreme cases such as Winehouse, these differences could lead to strange, complicated, outwardly public lives, while ignoring the disapproving gaze of others. The university study noted self-absorbed and self-hyping behavior increased alongside creativity, traits that could be seen by the rest of us as self-centered and downright arrogant.

In the case of Winehouse, these negatively received traits could also be a result of developing a thick-skin in response to a variety of put-downs over her music style, singing abilities, appearance and unusual public behavior.

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Article Author: Steve Woods

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