Computational Evidence that Self-regulation of Creativity is Good for Society

Liane GaboraUniversity of British Columbia
Simon TsengUniversity of British Columbia

Abstract

Excess individual creativity can be detrimental to society because creators invest in unproven ideas at the expense of propagating proven ones. Moreover, a proportion of individuals can benefit from creativity without being creative themselves by copying creators. We hypothesized that (1) societies increase their rate of cultural evolution by tempering the novelty-generating effects of creativity with the novelty-preserving effects of imitation, and (2) this is carried out by selectively rewarding and punishing creativity according to the value of the individuals' creative outputs. We tested this using an agent-based model of cultural evolution in which each agent self-regulated its invention-to-imitation ratio as a function of the fitness of its cultural outputs. In self-regulating societies, agents segregated into creators and imitators. The mean fitness of cultural outputs was higher than in non-self-regulating societies, and changes in diversity were rapider and more pronounced. We discuss limitations and possible social implications of our findings.

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Computational Evidence that Self-regulation of Creativity is Good for Society (436 KB)



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