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The dark side of creativity

Publication date: Mar 7, 2011 10:51:42 AM

Start: Mar 23, 2010 11:00:00 AM
End: Mar 23, 2010 12:00:00 PM

Location: Brook House

Speaker: Professor David Cropley, Deputy Director, Defence and Systems Institute, University of South Australia
Audience: SECReT students

Prof David Cropley, Deputy Director at the Defence and Systems Institute, University of South Australia, came to UCL SECReT to talk about how creativity can be utilised by the ‘bad guys’ in ways that are as ingenious as positive uses of creativity, though employed to destructive or anti-social ends.

The research was taken from a book co-authored by Prof Cropley, also entitled ‘The Dark Side of Creativity, which states that scholarship on creativity has focused on its positive aspects while largely ignoring its dark side. This includes not only creativity deliberately aimed at hurting others, such as crime or terrorism, or at gaining unfair advantages, but also the accidental negative side effects of well-intentioned acts. The book brings together essays written by experts from various fields (psychology, criminal justice, sociology, engineering, education, history, and design) and with different interests (personality development, mental health, deviant behavior, law enforcement, and counter-terrorism) to illustrate the nature of negative creativity, examine its variants, call attention to its dangers, and draw conclusions about how to prevent it or protect society from its effects.

Prof Cropley led an enthusiastic discussion on these topics with SECReT students, who, like many, have rarely examined scientific innovation in this light.