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Title:The cultural niche of sublimated creativity
Author(s):Kim, Emily
Advisor(s):Cohen, Dov
Contributor(s):Preston, Jesse L.
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Abstract:The dearth of empirical research on sublimation may be demonstrating the inherent difficulty scholars in the past have experienced in capturing the process of sublimation in the lab (Baumeister, Dale, & Sommer, 1998). Given the suspected difficulty of empirically capturing the process of sublimation, it was imperative to line up powerful situational and cultural determinants that could be theorized to elicit sublimation. While the process of sublimation (if it exists) is not supposed to be specifically Protestant, based on our review of the ascetic Protestant work ethic and contrasting theologies in the Catholic and Jewish traditions, we hypothesized that sublimation as an ego-defensive process would be easier to evoke in Protestants, as compared to Catholics and Jews. In a previous study conducted in our lab, Protestants (but not Catholics or Jews) channeled forbidden lust into creative work (Kim, Zeppenfeld, & Cohen, 2013, Study 2). In the current study, we replicate and extend this finding by providing further independent experimental evidence for sublimation and demonstrating that the process of sublimation is not limited to taboo sexual desires but also extends to unacceptable aggressive desires. In the present study, Protestants who had to suppress their anger were able to channel that anger into producing more creative art, while Catholics and Jews under the same conditions did not show this effect.
Issue Date:2013-08-22
Rights Information:Copyright 2013 Emily Kim
Date Available in IDEALS:2013-08-22
Date Deposited:2013-08

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