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Pfundmair, Michaela; Frey, Dieter; Hodgson, Timothy L. (2017): Taking the Focus Away from the Self: Low Individualism Mediates the Effect of Oxytocin on Creativity. In: Creativity Research Journal, Vol. 29, No. 1: pp. 91-96
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Recently, it has been shown that the hormone oxytocin can enable creative cognition. The aim of this investigation was to examine the psychological mechanism via which oxytocin influences creativity. Two opposing explanatory approaches suggested by previous research were investigated: It was predicted that the effect of oxytocin on creativity would be determined by low versus high individualism, especially in people with low levels of anxiety. Participants filled out an anxiety questionnaire and intranasally administered oxytocin or a placebo. After a 40-min waiting period, they performed a creativity task and indicated their level of individualism. Participants with low levels of anxiety showed heightened creative potential under oxytocin, and this relationship was mediated by low individualism. The results could not be explained by changes in the participants' affective state. The findings underscore the moderating role of dispositional factors and reveal an important factor to understand the role of oxytocin in human behavior.