Forgiveness and Creativity

“Recently, second-generation forgiveness scholars like Ryan Fehr have pushed the field in new and surprising directions. In one study, Mr. Fehr, a postdoctoral fellow in psychology at the University of Maryland at College Park, looked at the relationship between forgiveness and creativity.

First, Mr. Fehr and his colleague Michele J. Gelfand had participants recall an incident in which they either forgave or failed to forgive someone during a routine daily interaction. The researchers then asked the subjects to draw a picture of an alien from another planet.

What the researchers found is that people who failed to forgive drew less creative aliens. That matters, the researchers say, because it suggests that failing to forgive creates additional “cognitive load”—that is, it uses brainpower that is then unavailable for other tasks. Remarkably, just remembering a negative past incident takes a significant toll on those cognitive resources.”

The Sorry Scholars, Chronicle of Higher Education.

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