Everyday creativity in daily life: An experience-sampling study of "little c" creativity

Paul J. Silvia, Roger E. Beaty, Emily C. Nusbaum, Kari M. Eddington, Holly Levin-Aspenson, Thomas R. Kwapil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

145 Scopus citations


Richards proposed that everyday creativity- creative actions that are common among ordinary people in daily life, such as drawing, making recipes, writing, and any activity done with the purpose of being creative- both fosters and reflects psychological health. To explore when people are more likely to do something creative during the day, and to see who tends to act more creatively, we conducted a week-long experience-sampling study with a sample of young adults. Throughout the day, people's actions and feelings were randomly sampled, with an emphasis on whether people were doing something creative. Consistent with the notion of everyday creativity as a psychological strength, within-person models showed that people who reported feeling happy and active were more likely to be doing something creative at the time. Between-person models found that openness to experience and conscientiousness had large effects on whether people spent their time on creative pursuits. Neither negative states (e.g., momentary feelings of anger, stress, and self-consciousness) nor traits (e.g., neuroticism) significantly predicted creative activity. The findings support Richards's theorizing about everyday creative behavior as a cause and effect of positive psychological processes, and they illustrate the value of experience sampling for uncovering what creativity looks like in people's idiosyncratic environments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)183-188
Number of pages6
JournalPsychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Applied Psychology


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