Novelty-seeking trait predicts the effect of methylphenidate on creativity

Hila Z. Gvirts, Naama Mayseless, Aviv Segev, D. Yael Lewis, Kfir Feffer, Yael Barnea, Yuval Bloch, Simon G. Shamay-Tsoory

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In recent years the use of psychostimulants for cognitive enhancement in healthy individuals with no psychiatric disorders has been on the rise. However, it is still unclear whether psychostimulants improve certain cognitive functions at the cost of others, and how these psychostimulants interact with individual personality differences. In the current study, we investigated whether the effect of one common stimulant, methylphenidate (MPH), on creativity is associated with novelty seeking. Thirty-six healthy adults, without attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptomology, were assigned randomly in a double-blind fashion to receive MPH or placebo. We found that the effect of MPH on creativity was dependent on novelty-seeking (NS) personality characteristics of the participants. MPH increased creativity in individuals with lower NS, while it reduced creativity levels in individuals with high NS. These findings highlight the role of the dopaminergic system in creativity, and indicate that among healthy individuals NS can be seen as a predictor of the effect of MPH on creativity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)599-605
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Psychopharmacology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 May 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© British Association for Psychopharmacology.


  • Creativity
  • cognitive enhancement
  • dopamine
  • methylphenidate
  • novelty seeking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Pharmacology


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