Music provides a simple way to enhance creativity
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Listening to happy, energetic music increases people’s creativity, according to a new study.
Specifically, happy upbeat music (in this case, Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons”) improved divergent creativity.
That’s the kind of creativity where you create lots of potential answers to a problem.
But happy music doesn’t improve convergent creativity – the type of creativity where you are trying to reach one specific solution.
In the words of the study’s authors:
The main conclusion of the results we obtained is that listening to ‘happy music’ (i.e., classical music that elicits positive mood and is high on arousal), as compared to a silence control condition, is associated with an increase in divergent thinking, but not convergent creativity.
Why only the effect on divergent thinking?
The authors explain:
…creative ideation is a function of persistence and flexibility, and that situational variables can influence creativity either through their effects on persistence, on flexibility, or on both.
So, if you’re in a create field, or have need to do some innovative thinking:
Music listening can be easily integrated into daily life and may provide an innovative means to facilitate creative cognition in an efficient way in various scientific, educational and organizational settings when creative thinking is needed
The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE (Ritter & Ferguson, 2017).