Peacocks, picasso, and parental investment: The effects of romantic motives on creativity

Vladas Griskevicius, Robert B. Cialdini, Douglas T. Kenrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

196 Scopus citations


Four experiments explored the effects of mating motivation on creativity. Even without other incentives to be creative, romantic motives enhanced creativity on subjective and objective measures. For men, any cue designed to activate a short-term or a long-term mating goal increased creative displays; however, women displayed more creativity only when primed to attract a high-quality long-term mate. These creative boosts were unrelated to increased effort on creative tasks or to changes in mood or arousal. Furthermore, results were unaffected by the application of monetary incentives for creativity. These findings align with the view that creative displays in both sexes may be linked to sexual selection, qualified by unique exigencies of human parental investment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-76
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2006


  • Creativity
  • Mating goals
  • Parental investment
  • Self-presentation
  • Sexual selection


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