Dont Get Mad, Get Creative: Social Rejection Can Fuel Imaginative Thinking, Study Shows_Featured_, Conscious Living Monday, August 27th, 2012
It’s not just in movies where nerds get their revenge. A study by a Johns Hopkins University business professor finds that social rejection can inspire imaginative thinking, particularly in individuals with a strong sense of their own independence.
“For people who already feel separate from the crowd, social rejection can be a form of validation,” says Johns Hopkins Carey Business School assistant professor Sharon Kim, the study’s lead author. “Rejection confirms for independent people what they already feel about themselves, that they’re not like others. For such people, that distinction is a positive one leading them to greater creativity.”
Social rejection has the opposite effect on people who value belonging to a group: It inhibits their cognitive ability. Kim says numerous psychological studies over the years have made this finding. With her co-authors, Lynne Vincent and Jack Goncalo of Cornell University, she decided to consider the impact of rejection on people who take pride in being different from the norm. Such individuals, in a term from the study, are described as possessing an “independent self-concept.”