Publication Date

Summer 2011

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




gregory j. feist


creativity, death, mortality salience, motivation, personality, terror management theory

Subject Areas

Experimental psychology; Social psychology; Personality psychology


The current study examined whether participant's creative performance changed after they became aware of their mortality. The main hypotheses predicted that (1) participants who have highly creative personalities would show an increase in creative performance following mortality salience, (2) participants with less creative personalities would show a decrease in creative performance following mortality salience. Highly creative individuals were distinguished from less creative individuals based on their personality composition. The Consequences Test (Guilford, 1970) was used to measure creative performance. To examine whether creative performance changed after mortality salience, participants completed Form 1A of the Consequences Test, a mortality salience manipulation, and then Form 1B of the Consequences Test. Form 1A and 1B of the Consequences Test are equivalent forms. The results of this study failed to support the main hypotheses. A potential explanation for the non-significant results is that issues about mortality are not relevant to college age participants. Future research may benefit from examining the effects of mortality salience on creative performance in seniors or individuals who are terminally ill.