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In the Eye of the Beholder: Differences Across Ethnicity and Gender in Evaluating Creative Work


James C. Kaufman, Learning Research Institute, California State University at San Bernardino, Department of Psychology, 5500 University Parkway, San Bernardino, CA 92407. E-mail:


Creativity has been proposed as a supplement to ability tests as a way to reduce bias, as a result of the typical lack of ethnic or gender differences. Yet, creativity is usually measured through a consensus of rater judgment. Could there be implicit biases against people of different ethnicities or gender? This study examined stories and poems written by 205 students and rated by 108 different students. Females wrote poems that were judged to be more creative; there were no significant differences by ethnicity across all raters. Among notable findings, European Americans and African Americans both preferred stories written by European Americans. Reasons for this and other findings are discussed.