Cultural Grounding of Affect in Creativity

PI: Hazel Rose Markus, Jeanne L. Tsai


Emotions are central to discovery and invention, yet their role is often invisible. In many fields, emotions are still cast as noise in the system that interferes with good or rational thinking. Integrating cultural psychology, affective and behavioral science, and design, we propose that emotions can be enablers of creative performance. We contribute to the emerging research field centered on affect in design by positing that there is no one universal affective route that leads to creative design; Rather, designers' emotions are shaped by culture. For example, while the Chinese saying "急中生智" depicts a calm thinker who comes up with ingenious solutions amid crisis, the American mantra "unleash your creative potentials" advocates excited self-expression as a way to elicit a generative state of mind. We propose two studies to explore the interplay between affect, culture and creativity. Study 1 investigates how culture impacts affect in naturally-occurring idea generation using Experience Sampling Methods. Study 2 uses factorial design and the wizard-of-oz method to explore how culture shapes affect in teamwork that is augmented by affect-sensing-and-mirroring AI in futuristic work scenarios. Our findings will enable designers to foster insights into emotion in design,and thereby greatly enhance performance and cross-cultural collaboration.


Chunchen Xu, Xiao Ge