Too old to be creative? An age bias in creativity judgment

Ga-eun Grace OH*, Inseong JEONG, Mo WANG, Michael S NORTH, Yeeun CHOI

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review


Building on prior literature on social judgment and age stereotypes, we investigate whether age bias exists in creativity judgment and, if so, how it emerges and to what extent it persists. One archival data study (Study 1) and 5 recruitment scenario experiments (Studies 2–5) provide evidence that people persistently evaluate the creativity of an older person more negatively compared to that of a younger person. This age bias in creativity judgment remained even when a creative job feature that is positively associated with older people (i.e., requiring convergent vs. divergent thinking) was highlighted (Study 3) and when a worker demonstrated creative performance (Study 4). Furthermore, by testing the moderating role of age stereotypes, we found that age stereotypes in the adaptability dimension specifically contributed to this bias: those who believe that older people are not adaptable at work tend to exhibit age-biased creativity judgments (Studies 5a and 5b). Understanding the persistence of age bias in creativity judgment and its processes helps raise awareness of it in the workplace. Our findings also call for future investigations into effective strategies to attenuate such biases in the workplace.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberwaad028
JournalWork, Aging and Retirement
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Dec 2023


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