Social Rejects Really Are More Creative

Being an outsider has its benefits, not the least of which is an ability to think outside the box, according to a joint Johns Hopkins-Cornell study.

Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn


What's the Latest Development?

Those of us who were picked last in gym and left off invitation lists can feel a little better about ourselves: A study soon to be published in the Journal of Experiment Psychology suggests that so-called "losers" may actually be society's most creative thinkers. Based on tests with 200 Cornell University students, the findings indicated that subjects with a strong concept of self who had also been rejected from a hypothetical group project were the ones who came up with the most creative responses to a certain task. The study also showed that subjects' self-concept, if previously weak, could be strengthened, with creativity increasing as a result.

What's the Big Idea?

Johns Hopkins professor Sharon Kim says that the study's goal was to identify the benefits of being different and to counteract the negative press associated with bullying. However, she notes that, from a business perspective, there's a disconnect between the kind of creative people companies say they want and the kind of people they hire: "[They're] from the same schools, with the same background, and the same experiences." She suggests that more companies think outside the box in terms of locating creative hires and facilitating creativity among their staff.

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