"Paradoxically, we find that input constraints encourage more creative processing, provided the individual is not under significant time constraints," note Moreau and Dahl.
Their study explored how constraints related to input and time influenced the creative processing of consumers. A common example of such constraints is the every day question of what to eat for dinner. "Assume that a consumer has the need to put dinner on the table in two hours. To solve this problem requires either the retrieval of a previously constructed solution (e.g., call Dominos) or the construction of a new plan (e.g., check inventory and, based on the inputs available, prepare something suitable for dinner)."
The study finds that we are all creative beings. This creativity is utilized through our consumerism and, in fact, flourishes when under pressure.
"The importance of constraints in creative tasks has been identified by researchers in cognitive psychology," Moreau and Dahl explain. "However, an examination of how constraints influence individuals' cognitive processes in these situations has not been undertaken [until now]."
Designing the Solution: The Impact of Constraints on Consumers' Creativity. C. Page Moreau and Darren W. Dahl. Journal of Consumer Research. June 2005.