Journal article:
Holding a silver lining theory : when negative attributes heighten performance

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2015
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Wesnousky, Alexandra E.
Oettingen, Gabriele
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Abstract
Holding a lay theory that a negative personal attribute is associated with a positive attribute (i.e., a silver lining theory), may increase effortful performance in the domain of the positive attribute. In Study 1, individuals readily generated personal silver lining theories when prompted to consider a negative attribute, and the majority of individuals endorsed them for themselves. In Studies 2 and 3, we investigated how believing in a silver lining theory affected performance using the specific silver lining theory that impulsivity was associated with creativity. In both a college (Study 2) and an online sample (Study 3), individuals induced to believe that they were impulsive and then given the specific silver lining theory that impulsivity was related to creativity showed greater effort-based creativity than those for whom the silver lining theory was refuted. In Study 4, individuals made to believe that they were impulsive and given the silver lining theory performed more creatively than those who received no information about a silver lining theory, indicating that the silver lining theory increased performance relative to baseline. Silver lining lay theories may allow people to compensate for a negative attribute by promoting effortful behavior in the domain of a positive attribute believed to be linked to that negative attribute.
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Subject (DDC)
150 Psychology
Keywords
Self-concept, Lay theory, Self-regulation, Impulsivity, Creativity, Silver lining theory
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Journal of Experimental Social Psychology ; 57 (2015). - pp. 15-22. - ISSN 0022-1031. - eISSN 1096-0465
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Cite This
ISO 690WESNOUSKY, Alexandra E., Gabriele OETTINGEN, Peter M. GOLLWITZER, 2015. Holding a silver lining theory : when negative attributes heighten performance. In: Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. 57, pp. 15-22. ISSN 0022-1031. eISSN 1096-0465. Available under: doi: 10.1016/j.jesp.2014.11.001
BibTex
@article{Wesnousky2015Holdi-30746,
  year={2015},
  doi={10.1016/j.jesp.2014.11.001},
  title={Holding a silver lining theory : when negative attributes heighten performance},
  volume={57},
  issn={0022-1031},
  journal={Journal of Experimental Social Psychology},
  pages={15--22},
  author={Wesnousky, Alexandra E. and Oettingen, Gabriele and Gollwitzer, Peter M.}
}
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    <dcterms:abstract xml:lang="eng">Holding a lay theory that a negative personal attribute is associated with a positive attribute (i.e., a silver lining theory), may increase effortful performance in the domain of the positive attribute. In Study 1, individuals readily generated personal silver lining theories when prompted to consider a negative attribute, and the majority of individuals endorsed them for themselves. In Studies 2 and 3, we investigated how believing in a silver lining theory affected performance using the specific silver lining theory that impulsivity was associated with creativity. In both a college (Study 2) and an online sample (Study 3), individuals induced to believe that they were impulsive and then given the specific silver lining theory that impulsivity was related to creativity showed greater effort-based creativity than those for whom the silver lining theory was refuted. In Study 4, individuals made to believe that they were impulsive and given the silver lining theory performed more creatively than those who received no information about a silver lining theory, indicating that the silver lining theory increased performance relative to baseline. Silver lining lay theories may allow people to compensate for a negative attribute by promoting effortful behavior in the domain of a positive attribute believed to be linked to that negative attribute.</dcterms:abstract>
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