Novelty seeking is linked to openness and extraversion, and can lead to greater creative performance

Malgorzata Goclowska, Simone Ritter, Andrew J. Elliot, Matthijs Baas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Objective: Novelty seeking (the tendency to explore things novel and unfamiliar) has been extensively researched in the clinical and health domains, but its effects on creative performance are largely unknown. We examined whether creativity-related personality traits (openness to experience and extraversion) are associated with novelty seeking, and whether novelty seeking is linked to, and facilitates, creativity. Method: In Study 1a (N = 230; M age = 20; 64% females) and Study 1b (N = 421; M age = 19; 65% females), we measured extraversion, openness to experience, novelty seeking, and divergent thinking. To provide causal evidence for the relation between novelty seeking and creativity, in Study 2 (N = 147; M age = 27; 75% females), we manipulated people's motivation to seek novelty and then measured subsequent divergent thinking. Results: In Studies 1a and 1b, we demonstrated that trait novelty seeking is associated with openness and extraversion, on the one hand, and divergent thinking on the other. In Study 2, the novelty seeking manipulation led to greater divergent thinking. Conclusions: We conclude that novelty seeking is linked to openness to experience and extraversion, and that it can lead to greater divergent thinking.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)252-266
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Personality
Issue number2
Early online date31 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019


  • creativity
  • exploration
  • extraversion
  • novelty
  • openness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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