This study examines how culture affects the normative processes implicated in cultural differences in creative behaviors. Western norms prioritize originality and Eastern norms usefulness. In a cross-cultural study, we found significant performance differences in terms of originality and usefulness between Americans and Taiwanese only when these norms were salient, as when the task required individuals to select ideas (vs. generate new ideas) or to work in a group (vs. work alone). Compared with Taiwanese, Americans generated more original ideas when they worked in a group or when the task required them to select ideas for further elaboration. When required to select ideas in a group, norms were most salient and Americans’ relative advantage over Taiwanese in originality was most pronounced. In contrast, compared with Americans, Taiwanese generated more useful ideas when they worked in a group or when the task required them to select ideas for further elaboration. When required to select ideas in a group, Taiwanese’s advantage over Americans in usefulness was most pronounced. Moreover, although Americans and Taiwanese were equally capable of generating original and useful ideas, Taiwanese teams tended to express useful ideas and hold back original ones in group discussion. In contrast, American teams tended to hold back useful ideas. The theoretical and future research implications of these findings are discussed.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Psychology
- Cultural Studies