Creativity and ethics: The relationship of creative and ethical problem-solving

Michael D. Mumford, Ethan P. Waples, Alison L. Antes, Ryan P. Brown, Shane Connelly, Stephen T. Murphy, Lynn D. Devenport

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Students of creativity have long been interested in the relationship between creativity and deviant behaviors such as criminality, mental disease, and unethical behavior. In this study we wished to examine the relationship between creative thinking skills and ethical decision-making among scientists. Accordingly, 258 doctoral students in the health, biological, and social sciences were asked to complete a measure of creative processing skills (e.g., problem definition, conceptual combination, idea generation) and a measure of ethical decision-making examining four domains: data management, study conduct, professional practices, and business practices. It was found that ethical decision-making in all four of these areas was related to creative problem-solving processes with late-cycle processes (e.g., idea generation and solution monitoring) proving particularly important. The implications of these findings for understanding the relationship between creative and deviant thought are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-89
Number of pages16
JournalCreativity Research Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2010


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