Social rejection and imaginative thinking

Imaginative thinking can be bolstered when a person has been subjected to social rejection, new research has suggested. Published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, the study found this to be especially true in people who possess a strong sense of their own independence.

Sharon Kim, Assistant Professor at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, noted feeling left out can act as a form of validation for individuals who already feel as though they are separate from the crowd.

Ms Kim stated: "Rejection confirms for independent people what they already feel about themselves, that they're not like others. For such people, that distinction is a positive one leading them to greater creativity."

The findings could have implications for businesses when hiring new staff, as people with unusual personalities who are sometimes ignored by others can offer valuable assistance in other areas.

Ms Kim added creative people with independent self-concept might even begin to thrive on rejection and be recharged every time it happens.

Dr Michael Apter, a Chartered Psychologist currently based in the US, says:

"This is an interesting result, and one that I would like to think provides some support for the long-time reversal theory contention that the rebellious motivational state is the best state to be in if one needs to be innovative. The result would certainly appear to be consistent with what one knows of the character of such great innovative thinkers as Einstein, Freud and Wittgenstein, all of whom were rejected by peers at critical points in their careers."  

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