Matthijs Baas (1980) works as an Associate Professor at the department of Work and Organizational Psychology of the University of Amsterdam. In 2005, he started his dissertation research about the effects of specific moods on creativity. He received his PhD in 2010 (cum laude) and received the SESP dissertation award. His research is mainly about the cognitive, motivational and affective foundations of creativity. He gives lectures about creativity in organizations and research methods in psychology.
A meta-analysis of 25 years of mood-creativity research: Hedonic tone, activation, or regulatory focus? Psychological Bulletin (2008).
The dual-pathway to creativity model: Creative ideation as a function of flexibility and persistence. European Review of Social Psychology (2010).
When prevention promotes creativity: The role of mood, regulatory focus and regulatory closure. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (2011)
Working Memory benefits creative insight, musical improvisation and original ideation through maintained task-focused attention. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin (2012).
Personality and creativity: The dual pathway to creativity model and a research agenda. Social and Personality Psychology Compass (2013).
Oxytonergic circuitry sustains and enables creative cognition in humans. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience (2014).
Specific mindfulness skills differentially predict creative performance. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin (2014).
Mad genius revisited: Vulnerability to psychopathology, biobehavioral approach-avoidance, and creativity. Psychological Bulletin (2016).
Creative cognition and dopaminergic modulation of fronto-striatal networks: Integrative review and research agenda. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews (2017).
To better understand the mood-creativity relationship, I classify moods in terms of valence (positive vs. negative), activation (activating vs. de-activating), and motivational orientation (approach vs. avoidance) and argue that creativity can be achieved through flexible and divergent thinking and through systematic and persistent probing of a few ideas. My research with Carsten De Dreu and Bernard Nijstad shows that creativity is enhanced most by moods that are activating (happiness, fear, and anger) rather than deactivating (sadness, relaxed state, relief). Furthermore, my work suggests that activating mood states stimulate creativity primarily through flexibility when the motivational orientation is towards approach (happiness) and through persistence when the motivational orientation is towards avoidance (fear).
Because creativity provides fitness functionality in both ancestral and contemporary societies, it stands to reason that (i) the human brain evolved to sustain and promote creative thinking and we should be able to identify (ii) the brain circuitries and neuromodulators of creativity. This project investigates the potential brain correlates and neuromodulators underlying different facets of creative performance. More specifically, using EEG, TMS, and treatment studies, the project sets out to identify (i) the brain potentials associated with, and (ii) the role of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the flexibility and persistence pathway to creative outcomes, and (iii) to identify the neural correlates that explain classic social psychological effects of social cues on creativity. Team members on the project are Nathalie Boot, Simon van Gaal, and Carsten De Dreu.
Although many people believe that creativity associates with a vulnerability to psychopathology, research findings on this intriguing relationship are inconsistent. Using meta-analysis and new empirical research, I set out to answer whether, when, and why inclinations towards specific psychopathologies, including hypomania, depressive mood, ADHD, and schizotypy, are associated with creativity. My work thus far shows that the relationship between vulnerability to psychopathology and creativity is small and crucially depends on the specific psychopathology under investigation. Hypomania and positive schizotypy positively associates with creativity, whereas anxiety and depressive mood negatively associates with creativity. Team members on the project are Nathalie Boot, Barbara Nevicka, Carsten De Dreu, and Bernard Nijstad.
Creativity is important for individual adaptation, successful entrepreneurship, and organizational effectiveness. Especially in a continuously changing world characterized by crises and competition, it is vital to understand how creativity comes about and what factors foster versus inhibit it. In this project, I set out to uncover the way threats influence creativity. This is important because although threats are ubiquitous features of crises and competition, past work has shown they can both increase and decrease creativity, without providing convincing reasons why. To solve this conundrum, I propose that threats may lead to increased creativity, but crucially, mainly when creativity helps achieving valuable outcomes (averting or neutralizing the threat). Team members on the project are Yujie Cheng and Carsten De Dreu.
In my other work with Nathalie Boot, Gosia Goclowska, Claire Stevenson, Barbara Nevicka, and Femke ten Velden, I seek answers to questions, such as "what is the impact of mindfulness on creativity in individuals and groups," "how can we improve creativity measurement," "when and why do schema violations promote or prevent creativity," and "when do highly narcissistic people respond to negative feedback and social rejection with increased creative performance"?
Cognition, Cognition and Emotion, Creativity Research Journal, Emotion, European Journal of Social Psychology, Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, National Science Foundation, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Making Processes, PlosOne, Psychological Science, and other journals.