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When doing things the same way makes you more creative: Using habits of perspective to increase useful creativity and resist the detrimental effect of financial incentives
Last registered on April 26, 2019

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
When doing things the same way makes you more creative: Using habits of perspective to increase useful creativity and resist the detrimental effect of financial incentives
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0002981
Initial registration date
May 25, 2018
Last updated
April 26, 2019 7:01 PM EDT
Location(s)
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
University of Cambridge
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
University of Cambridge
PI Affiliation
University of Cambridge
Additional Trial Information
Status
In development
Start date
2019-04-29
End date
2019-06-01
Secondary IDs
Abstract
This study explores how individuals develop habitual perspectives from repetitive tasks they enact over time, and how these deeply ingrained habits of perspective influence creativity. Further, this study proposes that habits of perspective are resistant to the creativity-stunting effect of financial incentives.

In a randomized controlled trial, participants will develop specific habits of perspective and perform creativity tasks under different incentive schemes. The study will then be duplicated in the field at a social venture incubator, a business accelerator, a marketing organisation in London, and an international non-profit. We expect our results to show that companies who want to encourage innovation in their employees should focus on the perspective their employees’ daily tasks induce in them.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Ebert, Charlie, Raghabendra KC and Jaideep Prabhu. 2019. "When doing things the same way makes you more creative: Using habits of perspective to increase useful creativity and resist the detrimental effect of financial incentives." AEA RCT Registry. April 26. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.2981-3.0
Former Citation
Ebert, Charlie, Raghabendra KC and Jaideep Prabhu. 2019. "When doing things the same way makes you more creative: Using habits of perspective to increase useful creativity and resist the detrimental effect of financial incentives." AEA RCT Registry. April 26. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/2981/history/45520
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
Intervention Start Date
2019-05-26
Intervention End Date
2019-06-01
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Creativity as measured through Guilford's Alternative Uses Task: (1) novelty of ideas as rated by judges, (2) usefulness of ideas as rated by judges, (3) creativity as a composite of novelty and usefulness, and (3) total number of generated ideas in each task.
Useful Creativity of generated ideas, as measured by expert judges when participants are given a creative task (helping a band sell albums)
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Results of the alternative uses test are based on multiple criteria:
Fluency – the number of alternative uses generated
Novelty– how novel the ideas are, as rated by two judges
Usefulness– the usefulness of the generated ideas, as rated by two judges


Useful creativity is measured by getting an expert judge or group of judges in a field to evaluate participant ideas. Evaluation technique will be similar to Study 3 in Grant, Adam M. and James W. Berry (2011), using the two criteria of novelty and usefulness.

Grant, Adam M. and James W. Berry (2011), “The Necessity of Others is the Mother of Invention: Intrinsic and Prosocial Motivations, Perspective Taking, and Creativity,” Academy of Management Journal, 54 (1), 73–96.
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
This study uses a 2X3 between-subjects factorial design. There are two interventions:
(1) The manipulation of perspective during habit formation
(2) The type of incentive given during creativity tasks
Experimental Design Details
Summary This study uses a 3X2 between-subjects factorial design. There are two interventions: (1) The manipulation of perspective when forming a habit. (2) The type of incentive given during creativity tasks, after the habit of perspective has been formed. Intervention one For the first manipulation, participants will respond to daily notifications over a three-week period. In each notification, participants will be directed to describe how an object can be useful for others, themselves, or in general (control). a. Perspective Treatment 1: An item will be shown on the next page. 1. Come up with creative alternative ways the item could be used. 2. List as many as possible within the two-minute time limit. Take the perspective of the person you mentioned, as if you are that person and are holding the item. (all participants will have mentioned a person in a previous question. Then this condition uses the person they mentioned. The information in these parentheses is not in the study) b. Perspective Treatment 2: An item will be shown on the next page. 1. Come up with creative alternative ways the item could be used. 2. List as many as possible within the two-minute time limit. Take your own perspective, as if you are holding the item. c. Control : An item will be shown on the next page. 1. Come up with creative alternative ways the item could be used. 2. List as many as possible within the two-minute time limit. Habit forming with daily activities can take at least 18 days for simple activities and longer for more complex activities (Lally et al. 2010). Participants will be asked to perform their respective task once each day between 9 AM and Midnight that day, for a total of three weeks. The Self-Report Habit Index or Self-Report Behavioral Automaticity Index (Gardner et al. 2012) will be used during the intervention to measure the extent to which a habit has been instilled. Intervention two After three weeks, participants will finish their daily task and will be emailed three surveys on May 26th, May 29th and June 1st. These surveys will have a general version of the Alternative uses task and a creativity task asking participants to generate ideas for a struggling a band to sell more albums. We may also give a lexical decision task to try and measure habit a second way. These three surveys will occur after the habit of perspective has been formed. Participants will receive these surveys via email and will be asked to perform the creativity tasks under different incentives. a. Incentive Treatment 1: Financial incentive (extra £5 if the participant places within the top 50% amongst participants in the creativity tests) c. Incentive control: No incentive Performance on the creativity tests will be recorded for all individuals within each incentive treatment group, for each perspective treatment group. That is a total of six conditions. Following analysis of the lab results, field research will be run at multiple organisations, using a similar design.
Randomization Method
Randomization done using the Qualtrics Randomizer
Randomization Unit
individual
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
250 individuals
Sample size: planned number of observations
250 individuals
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
About 41 individuals within each treatment and control
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Supporting Documents and Materials

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IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Judge Business School Review Board
IRB Approval Date
2018-05-31
IRB Approval Number
18/028
Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
No
Is data collection complete?
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
No
Program Files
Program Files
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers