Daniel Ariel’s hot state and creative acts


From the frame of behavioral economics in Predictable Irrational, Daniel Ariel discusses hot (affect) ethics. Hmmm, entertainingly he designed his experiment not around anger, which is often referred to as hot state, but around sexual arousal in males. His logic was a sexual hot state vs anger is more predictably achieved. And the degree of arousal more clearly measurable and uniform in male subjects. Additionally in a research setting there are more efficient avenues to bring each participant into a clinically a hot state. The subjects, privately both in a lab and home environment, took a survey that evaluated their self claimed adherence to particular conventions, moral codes, when unaroused. Then three months later they repeated the survey while self inducing arousal to the point of climax. Both survey’s were administered via the computer. And yes the keyboard was sleeved for “safe input.”

Anyhow, I belabor getting to the point because I find the methodology a tad humorous. The results indicated intersubjective coherence in a split between how participants responded in a cold versus hot state. In the cold state the males were sensitive and compliant to a series of “moral” norms in their decision making process. In a hot state their compliance to common moral conventions was significantly reduced. Meaning in a cold state the decisional options available to an individual appear constrained to function neatly within current conventional standards but in a hot state options that resided outside of the bounds of convention become possible. Perhaps like being in a war zone. In a cold state I sure as hell don’t think I would kill a person; in a highly aroused state precipitated by life threatening situations, I sure as heck just might kill someone. Is that a function of the threat and/or the release from conventional adherence that comes when in a hot state?

Research around mood, states of arousal, and creativity suggest a degree of passion, a hot state, is required or apparent in paradigm shifting artists (and scientists) practice. Ariel’s notion that one is less restricted to convention in a hot state seems to correlate neatly with the definitions of creativity, when creativity is defined as an act that introduces alternatives to conventional practices. So particular states of arousal on the hot side would seem to correlate to the “passionate” persistent troubling makin artist.

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