July 25, 2013

THE LABILE ARE NOT FERTILE:

Turning Repressed Emotions Into Great Art (Tom Jacobs, 7/23/13, Pacific Standard)

It has long been theorized that repressed anger or forbidden sexual desire can be a creative catalyst. After all, one way to exorcise internal tensions is to channel them into art.

Provocative new research supports that notion, while cautioning that it isn't universally true. Three University of Illinois psychologists present evidence that this equation only applies to Protestants--or, perhaps, people raised in a Protestant-dominated culture.

According to researchers Emily Kim, Veronika Zeppenfeld, and Dov Cohen, Jews and Catholics have a less-productive way of responding to uncomfortable thoughts and feelings: guilt.

"Two laboratory experiments found that Protestants produced more creative artwork when they were (a) primed with damnation-related words, (b) induced to feel unacceptable sexual desires, or (c) forced to suppress their anger," the researchers write. "Activating anger or sexual attraction was not enough; it was the forbidden or suppressed nature of the emotion that gave the emotion its creative power."

Posted by at July 25, 2013 5:14 AM
  

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