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Sublimation, Culture, and Creativity

Combining insights from Freud and Weber, this article explores whether Protestants (vs. Catholics and Jews) are more likely to sublimate their taboo feelings and desires toward productive ends. In the Terman sample (Study 1), Protestant men and women who had sexual problems related to anxieties abou... Full description

Journal Title: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 2013, Vol.105(4), pp.639-666
Main Author: Kim, Emily
Other Authors: Zeppenfeld, Veronika , Cohen, Dov
Format: Electronic Article Electronic Article
Language: English
Subjects:
ID: ISSN: 0022-3514 ; E-ISSN: 1939-1315 ; DOI: 10.1037/a0033487
Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0033487
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recordid: apa_articles10.1037/a0033487
title: Sublimation, Culture, and Creativity
format: Article
creator:
  • Kim, Emily
  • Zeppenfeld, Veronika
  • Cohen, Dov
subjects:
  • Religion
  • Sublimation
  • Culture
  • Creativity
  • Defense Mechanisms
ispartof: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2013, Vol.105(4), pp.639-666
description: Combining insights from Freud and Weber, this article explores whether Protestants (vs. Catholics and Jews) are more likely to sublimate their taboo feelings and desires toward productive ends. In the Terman sample (Study 1), Protestant men and women who had sexual problems related to anxieties about taboos and depravity had greater creative accomplishments, as compared to those with sexual problems unrelated to such concerns and to those reporting no sexual problems. Two laboratory experiments (Studies 2 and 3) found that Protestants produced more creative artwork (sculptures, poems, collages, cartoon captions) when they were (a) primed with damnation-related words, (b) induced to feel unacceptable sexual desires, or (c) forced to suppress their anger. 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. The studies provide possibly the first experimental evidence for sublimation and suggest a cultural psychological approach to defense mechanisms.
language: eng
source:
identifier: ISSN: 0022-3514 ; E-ISSN: 1939-1315 ; DOI: 10.1037/a0033487
fulltext: fulltext
issn:
  • 0022-3514
  • 00223514
  • 1939-1315
  • 19391315
url: Link


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descriptionCombining insights from Freud and Weber, this article explores whether Protestants (vs. Catholics and Jews) are more likely to sublimate their taboo feelings and desires toward productive ends. In the Terman sample (Study 1), Protestant men and women who had sexual problems related to anxieties about taboos and depravity had greater creative accomplishments, as compared to those with sexual problems unrelated to such concerns and to those reporting no sexual problems. Two laboratory experiments (Studies 2 and 3) found that Protestants produced more creative artwork (sculptures, poems, collages, cartoon captions) when they were (a) primed with damnation-related words, (b) induced to feel unacceptable sexual desires, or (c) forced to suppress their anger. 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. The studies provide possibly the first experimental evidence for sublimation and suggest a cultural psychological approach to defense mechanisms.
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abstractCombining insights from Freud and Weber, this article explores whether Protestants (vs. Catholics and Jews) are more likely to sublimate their taboo feelings and desires toward productive ends. In the Terman sample (Study 1), Protestant men and women who had sexual problems related to anxieties about taboos and depravity had greater creative accomplishments, as compared to those with sexual problems unrelated to such concerns and to those reporting no sexual problems. Two laboratory experiments (Studies 2 and 3) found that Protestants produced more creative artwork (sculptures, poems, collages, cartoon captions) when they were (a) primed with damnation-related words, (b) induced to feel unacceptable sexual desires, or (c) forced to suppress their anger. 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. The studies provide possibly the first experimental evidence for sublimation and suggest a cultural psychological approach to defense mechanisms.
pubAmerican Psychological Association
doi10.1037/a0033487
date2013-10