Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-7d684dbfc8-jr2wd Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2023-09-30T06:02:12.328Z Has data issue: false Feature Flags: { "corePageComponentGetUserInfoFromSharedSession": true, "coreDisableEcommerce": false, "coreDisableSocialShare": false, "coreDisableEcommerceForArticlePurchase": false, "coreDisableEcommerceForBookPurchase": false, "coreDisableEcommerceForElementPurchase": false, "coreUseNewShare": true, "useRatesEcommerce": true } hasContentIssue false

18 - Affective Factors in Dark Creativity

from Part IV - Emotions and Creative Products

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 February 2023

Zorana Ivcevic
Yale University, Connecticut
Jessica D. Hoffmann
Yale University, Connecticut
James C. Kaufman
University of Connecticut
Get access


Although recent research has begun examining the construct more widely, there exist several gaps in scholarship. One such area is the influence, association, and role of affective factors in determining whether and to what extent an entity engages in dark creativity. After introducing concepts like negative and malevolent creativity, this chapter reviews the existing literature on the link between affective factors and creativity. Thereafter, the features of dark personality traits, like psychopathy, are examined with reference to affective considerations such as low empathy in producing original harm. Owing to the relationship between dark creativity and moral concerns, we also examine how moral emotions like guilt and shame (or lack thereof) may contribute to an understanding of such creativity. The chapter concludes with suggestions for future research and avenues for interdisciplinary studies.

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Abbink, K., & Sadrieh, A. (2009). The pleasure of being nasty. Economics Letters, 105(3), 306308. Scholar
Baas, M., De Dreu, C. K. W., & Nijstad, B. A. (2008). A meta-analysis of 25 years of mood-creativity research: Hedonic tone, activation, or regulatory focus? Psychological Bulletin, 134(6), 779806. ScholarPubMed
Baas, M., De Dreu, C. K. W., & Nijstad, B. A. (2011). Creative production by angry people peaks early on, decreases over time, and is relatively unstructured. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 47(6), 11071115. Scholar
Baas, M., Roskes, M., Koch, S., Cheng, Y., & De Dreu, C. K. W. (2019). Why social threat motivates malevolent creativity. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 45(11), 15901602. ScholarPubMed
Barsade, S. G., & Gibson, D. E. (2007). Why does affect matter in organizations? Academy of Management Perspectives, 21(1), 3659. Scholar
Baumeister, R. F., Stillwell, A. M., & Heatherton, T. F. (1994). Guilt: An interpersonal approach. Psychological Bulletin, 115(2), 243267. ScholarPubMed
Bonetto, E., & Arciszewski, T. (2021). The creativity of conspiracy theories. The Journal of Creative Behavior, 54(4), 916924. jocb.497. Scholar
Buddi, M. (2021, July 9). Hyderabad: Couple arrested for stealing jewlery from Covid patients at hospital. The Times of India.Google Scholar
Buncombe, A. (2011, October 23). MF Husain: Indian artist who spent his last five years in self-imposed exile after death threats from Hindu nationalists. Independent.Google Scholar
Cheng, R., LU, K., & HAO, N. (2021). The effect of anger on malevolent creativity and strategies for its emotion regulation. Acta Psychologica Sinica, 53(8), 847. Scholar
Clark, K., & James, K. (1999). Justice and positive and negative creativity. Creativity Research Journal, 12(4), 311320. Scholar
Cohen, T. R. (2010). Moral emotions and unethical bargaining: The differential effects of empathy and perspective taking in deterring deceitful negotiation. Journal of Business Ethics, 94(4), 569579. Scholar
Cohen, T. R., Panter, A. T., & Turan, N. (2012). Guilt proneness and moral character. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 21(5), 355359. Scholar
Cooper, J. M., & Silvia, P. J. (2009). Opposing art: Rejection as an action tendency of hostile aesthetic emotions. Empirical Studies of the Arts, 27(1), 109126. Scholar
Cropley, D. H. (2010). Summary – The dark side of creativity: A differentiated model. In Cropley, D. H., Cropley, A. J., Kaufman, J. C., & Runco, M. A. (Eds.), The Dark Side of Creativity (pp. 360373). Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cropley, D. H., & Cropley, A. J. (2013). Creativity and Crime: A Psychological Analysis. Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cropley, D. H., Kaufman, J. C., & Cropley, A. J. (2008). Malevolent creativity: A functional model of creativity in terrorism and crime. Creativity Research Journal, 20(2), 105115. Scholar
Cuff, B. M. P., Brown, S. J., Taylor, L., & Howat, D. J. (2016). Empathy: A review of the concept. Emotion Review, 8(2), 144153. Scholar
Davis, M. A. (2009). Understanding the relationship between mood and creativity: A meta-analysis. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 108(1), 2538. Scholar
De Dreu, C. K. W., Baas, M., & Nijstad, B. A. (2008). Hedonic tone and activation level in the mood-creativity link: Toward a dual pathway to creativity model. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 94(5), 739756. Scholar
De Lara, P. Z. M. (2007). Relationship between organizational justice and cyberloafing in the workplace: Has “anomia” a say in the matter? Cyberpsychology and Behavior, 10(3), 464470. ScholarPubMed
Decety, J., & Cowell, J. M. (2014). Friends or foes: Is empathy necessary for moral behavior? Perspectives on Psychological Science, 9(5), 525537. ScholarPubMed
Du, Y., Yang, Y., Wang, X., et al. (2021). A positive role of negative mood on creativity: The opportunity in the crisis of the COVID-19 epidemic. Frontiers in Psychology, 11(January), 114. ScholarPubMed
Erzi, S. (2020). Dark Triad and schadenfreude: Mediating role of moral disengagement and relational aggression. Personality and Individual Differences, 157(January), 109827. Scholar
Fang, X., Chen, L., Wang, J., Zhang, Q., & Mo, L. (2020). Do all types of compassion increase prosocial lying? Psychology Research and Behavior Management, 13, 437451. ScholarPubMed
Forgeard, M. J. C., & Mecklenburg, A. C. (2013). The two dimensions of motivation and a reciprocal model of the creative process. Review of General Psychology, 17(3), 255266. Scholar
Forsyth, L., Anglim, J., March, E., & Bilobrk, B. (2021). Dark Tetrad personality traits and the propensity to lie across multiple contexts. Personality and Individual Differences, 177(110792). Scholar
Fouché, P., du Plessis, R., & van Niekerk, R. (2017). Levinsonian seasons in the life of Steve Jobs: A psychobiographical case study. Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology, 17(1), 118. Scholar
Fredrickson, B. L. (2001). The role of positive emotions in positive psychology: The broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions. American Psychologist, 56(3), 218226. ScholarPubMed
Friedman, R. S., Förster, J., & Denzler, M. (2007). Interactive effects of mood and task framing on creative generation. Creativity Research Journal, 19(2–3), 141162. Scholar
Furnham, A., Richards, S. C., & Paulhus, D. L. (2013). The Dark Triad of personality: A 10 year review. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 7(3), 199216. Scholar
Gaspar, J. P., & Schweitzer, M. E. (2013). The emotion deception model: A review of deception in negotiation and the role of emotion in deception. Negotiation and Conflict Management Research, 6(3), 160179. Scholar
Gino, F., & Shea, C. (2012). Deception in negotiations: The role of emotions. In Bolton, G. E. & Croson, R. T. A. (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Economic Conflict Resolution (pp. 4760). Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gino, F., & Wiltermuth, S. S. (2014). Evil genius? How dishonesty can lead to greater creativity. Psychological Science, 25(4), 973981. ScholarPubMed
Göritz, A. S., & Moser, K. (2006). Web-based mood induction. Cognition and Emotion, 20(6), 887896. Scholar
Graham, J., Haidt, J., Koleva, S., et al. (2013). Moral foundations theory: The pragmatic validity of moral pluralism. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 47, 55130. Scholar
Gutworth, M. B., Cushenbery, L., & Hunter, S. T. (2018). Creativity for deliberate harm: Malevolent creativity and social information processing theory. The Journal of Creative Behavior, 52(4), 305322. Scholar
Haidt, J. (2003). The moral emotions. In Davidson, R. J., Scherer, K. R., & Goldsmith, H. H. (Eds.), Handbook of Affective Sciences (pp. 852870). Oxford University Press. Scholar
Haidt, J., Koller, S. H., & Dias, M. G. (1993). Affect, culture, and morality, or is it wrong to eat your dog? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 65(4), 613628. ScholarPubMed
Harris, D. J., & Reiter-Palmon, R. (2015). Fast and furious: The influence of implicit aggression, premeditation, and provoking situations on malevolent creativity. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 9(1), 5464. Scholar
Harris, D. J., Reiter-Palmon, R., & Kaufman, J. C. (2013). The effect of emotional intelligence and task type on malevolent creativity. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 7(3), 237244. Scholar
Heym, N., Firth, J., Kibowski, F., et al. (2019). Empathy at the heart of darkness: Empathy deficits that bind the dark triad and those that mediate indirect relational aggression. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 10, 110. ScholarPubMed
Hui, P. P., Chiu, W. C. K., Pang, E., Coombes, J., & Tse, D. Y. P. (2021). Seeing through and breaking through: The role of perspective taking in the relationship between creativity and moral reasoning. Journal of Business Ethics, 0123456789. Scholar
Ivcevic, Z., Brackett, M. A., & Mayer, J. D. (2007). Emotional intelligence and emotional creativity. Journal of Personality, 75(2), 199236. ScholarPubMed
Ivcevic, Z., & Hoffmann, J. (2019). Emotions and creativity: From process to person and product. In Kaufman, J. C. & Sternberg, R. J. (Eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Creativity (pp. 273295). Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
James, K., Clark, K., & Cropanzano, R. (1999). Positive and negative creativity in groups, institutions, and organizations: A model and theoretical extension. Creativity Research Journal, 12(3), 211226. Scholar
James, K., & Taylor, A. (2010). Positive creativity and negative creativity (and unintended consequences). In Cropley, D. H., Cropley, A. J., Kaufman, J. C., & Runco, M. A. (Eds.), The Dark Side of Creativity (pp. 3356). Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Jonason, P. K., & Krause, L. (2013). The emotional deficits associated with the Dark Triad traits: Cognitive empathy, affective empathy, and alexithymia. Personality and Individual Differences, 55(5), 532537. Scholar
Kapoor, H. (2015). The creative side of the Dark Triad. Creativity Research Journal, 27(1), 5867. Scholar
Kapoor, H., & Karandikar, S. (2019). Darkness all around: Humor, personality, and creativity. In-Mind Magazine. Scholar
Kapoor, H., & Kaufman, J. C. (2020). Meaning-making through creativity during COVID-19. Frontiers in Psychology, 11, 595990. ScholarPubMed
Kapoor, H., & Kaufman, J. C. (2021). Unbound: The relationship between creativity, moral foundations, and dark personality. The Journal of Creative Behavior. Scholar
Kapoor, H., & Khan, A. (2017). Deceptively yours: Valence-based creativity and deception. Thinking Skills and Creativity, 23, 199206. Scholar
Kumar, R. (1997). The role of affect in negotiations. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 33(1), 84100. Scholar
Leith, K. P., & Baumeister, R. F. (1998). Empathy, shame, guilt, and narratives of interpersonal conflicts: Guilt-prone people are better at perspective taking. Journal of Personality, 66(1), 137. Scholar
Lupoli, M. J., Jampol, L., & Oveis, C. (2017). Lying because we care: Compassion increases Prosocial lying. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 146(7), 10261042. ScholarPubMed
Mai, K. M., Ellis, A. P. J., & Welsh, D. T. (2015). The gray side of creativity: Exploring the role of activation in the link between creative personality and unethical behavior. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 60, 7685. Scholar
Marcusson-Clavertz, D., Kjell, O. N. E., Persson, S. D., & Cardeña, E. (2019). Online validation of combined mood induction procedures. PLoS ONE, 14(6), 116. ScholarPubMed
Mayer, J. D., Caruso, D. R., & Salovey, P. (1999). Emotional intelligence meets traditional standards for an intelligence. Intelligence, 27(4), 267298. Scholar
McCornack, S. A. (1992). Information manipulation theory. Communication Monographs, 59(1), 116. Scholar
Menninghaus, W., Wagner, V., Wassiliwizky, E., et al. (2019). What are aesthetic emotions? Psychological Review, 126(2), 171195. ScholarPubMed
Miao, C., Humphrey, R. H., Qian, S., & Pollack, J. M. (2019). The relationship between emotional intelligence and the dark triad personality traits: A meta-analytic review. Journal of Research in Personality, 78, 189197. Scholar
Nagler, U. K. J., Reiter, K. J., Furtner, M. R., & Rauthmann, J. F. (2014). Is there a “dark intelligence”? Emotional intelligence is used by dark personalities to emotionally manipulate others. Personality and Individual Differences, 65, 4752. Scholar
Olekalns, M., & Smith, P. L. (2009). Mutually dependent: Power, trust, affect and the use of deception in negotiation. Journal of Business Ethics, 85(3), 347365. Scholar
Pajevic, M., Vukosavljevic-Gvozden, T., Stevanovic, N., & Neumann, C. S. (2018). The relationship between the Dark Tetrad and a two-dimensional view of empathy. Personality and Individual Differences, 123, 125130. Scholar
Paulhus, D. L. (2014). Toward a taxonomy of dark personalities. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 23(6), 421426. Scholar
Perchtold-Stefan, C. M., Fink, A., Rominger, C., & Papousek, I. (2020a). Creative, antagonistic, and angry? Exploring the roots of malevolent creativity with a real-world idea generation task. Journal of Creative Behavior. Scholar
Perchtold-Stefan, C. M., Fink, A., Rominger, C., & Papousek, I. (2020b). Motivational factors in the typical display of humor and creative potential: The case of malevolent creativity. Frontiers in Psychology, 11. ScholarPubMed
Perchtold-Stefan, C. M., Fink, A., Rominger, C., & Papousek, I. (2021). Failure to reappraise: Malevolent creativity is linked to revenge ideation and impaired reappraisal inventiveness in the face of stressful, anger-eliciting events. Anxiety, Stress, & Coping, 34(4), 437439. ScholarPubMed
Plucker, J. A., Beghetto, R. A., & Dow, G. T. (2004). Why isn’t creativity more important to educational psychologists? Potentials, pitfalls, and future directions in creativity research. Educational Psychologist, 39(2), 8396. Scholar
Puthillam, A., Karandikar, S., & Kapoor, H. (2019). I see how you feel: How the Dark Triad recognizes emotions. Current Psychology, 1–8. Scholar
Reisenzein, R. (1994). Pleasure-arousal theory and the intensity of emotions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 67(3), 525539. Scholar
Rhodes, M. (1961). An analysis of creativity. The Phi Delta Kappan, 42(7), 305310. Scholar
Schindler, I., Hosoya, G., Menninghaus, W., et al. (2017). Measuring aesthetic emotions: A review of the literature and a new assessment tool. PLoS ONE, 12(6), e0178899. Scholar
Scrima, F., Miceli, S., Caci, B., & Cardaci, M. (2022). The relationship between fear of COVID-19 and intention to get vaccinated. The serial mediation roles of existential anxiety and conspiracy beliefs. Personality and Individual Differences, 184(January), 111188. ScholarPubMed
Shen, W., Yuan, Y., Yi, B., Liu, C., & Zhan, H. (2019). A theoretical and critical examination on the relationship between creativity and morality. Current Psychology, 38, 469485. Scholar
Silvia, P. J. (2009). Looking past pleasure: Anger, confusion, disgust, pride, surprise, and other unusual aesthetic emotions. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 3(1), 4851. Scholar
Silvia, P. J., & Brown, E. M. (2007). Anger, disgust, and the negative aesthetic emotions: Expanding an appraisal model of aesthetic experience. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 1(2), 100106. Scholar
Storme, M., Celik, P., & Myszkowski, N. (2021). Creativity and unethicality: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 15(4), 664672. Scholar
Tangney, J. P., Stuewig, J., & Mashek, D. J. (2007). Moral emotions and moral behavior. Annual Review of Psychology, 58(1), 345372. ScholarPubMed
Times News Network. (2021, July 10). Thief pretends to puke on BMTC bus passenger, aides steal Rs 50k. The Times of India.Google Scholar
Van Kleef, G. A., Anastasopoulou, C., & Nijstad, B. A. (2010). Can expressions of anger enhance creativity? A test of the emotions as social information (EASI) model. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 46(6), 10421048. Scholar
Wagemans, F. M. A., Brandt, M. J., & Zeelenberg, M. (2018). Disgust sensitivity is primarily associated with purity-based moral judgments. Emotion, 18(2), 277289. ScholarPubMed
Wai, M., & Tiliopoulos, N. (2012). The affective and cognitive empathic nature of the dark triad of personality. Personality and Individual Differences, 52(7), 794799. Scholar
Walczyk, J. J., Runco, M. A., Tripp, S. M., & Smith, C. E. (2008). The creativity of lying: Divergent thinking and ideational correlates of the resolution of social dilemmas. Creativity Research Journal, 20(3), 328342. Scholar
Walker, L. J. (1980). Cognitive and perspective-taking prerequisites for moral development. Child Development, 51(1), 131139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wang, B., & Wei, P. (2021). Moral emotion: A new perspective on the relationship between morality and creativity. Advances in Psychological Science, 29(2), 268275.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Westermann, R., Spies, K., Stahl, G., & Hesse, F. W. (1996). Relative effectiveness and validity of mood induction procedures: A meta-analysis. European Journal of Social Psychology, 26, 557580.3.0.CO;2-4>CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wu, W., Su, Y., Huang, X., Liu, W., & Jiang, X. (2020). The dark triad, moral disengagement, and social entrepreneurial intention: Moderating roles of empathic concern and perspective taking. Frontiers in Psychology, 11. ScholarPubMed
Xu, L., Chen, G., & Li, B. (2020). Sadness empathy facilitates prosocial lying. Social Behavior and Personality, 47(9), 111. Scholar
Yang, J.-S., & Hung, H. V. (2015). Emotions as constraining and facilitating factors for creativity: Companionate love and anger. Creativity and Innovation Management, 24(2), 217230. Scholar

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats