The devil made me do it: Press and personality in malevolent creativity

Rebecca McBain, David Cropley, Phillip Kavanagh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A combination of the psychological foundations of creativity research, coupled with malevolent creativity’s focus on intentional production of harmful novelty, not surprisingly directs many empirical studies to focus on the intersection of the Person and the Product. The role of the Press—broadly speaking, the climate in which creativity takes place—has received less attention in the context of malevolent creativity. The present study attempts to address two weaknesses in the literature—cause-and-effect in malevolent creativity, and the role of the Press—through the use of priming and hypothetical scenarios to elicit malevolent creativity in participants. The results of this study suggested that the press may be influential in determining the perception and choice of malevolence and creativity. Personality, in contrast emerged as less influential, in particular when seeking a stable constellation of malevolent, creative personality factors. As a result, in contrast to benevolent, e.g. business, creativity contexts, where all 4Ps are seen to share in determining the success of innovation, press may exert a particular influence in determining the success of malevolent creative endeavors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-44
Number of pages23
JournalThe International Journal of Creativity & Problem Solving
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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