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Culture & Religion

How Diversity Sparks Creativity

Despite the fact that people with diverse social networks score higher on creativity metrics, we mostly prefer homogeneity, sticking close to people like us when we attend social events.

What’s the Latest Development?

New research shows that while we may praise diversity with our words, our actions tell another story. The larger the group of people we form a part ofa running club, a college campus, an office, etc.the more likely we are to stick by others who we judge as being similar to ourselves. Researchers have found this to be the case at executive mixers where, after expressing a desire to meet new people from new industries, businesspeople most often socialize with members of their same field.

What’s the Big Idea?

College campuses, ideally bastions of diversity, also fall prey to our preference for homogeneity. Students at American universities with large, diverse populations are less likely to form friendships with people from different backgrounds than those who attend small, somewhat rural colleges. Studies have shown that people with diverse social networks score three times higher on metrics that measure innovation, “suggesting that the ability to access ‘non-redundant information from peers’ is a crucial source of new ideas.”

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