Those of us who spend a lot of time in the business of creativity know the feeling. You need to come up with something. But you’re just not ‘feeling it’. Good news. I may be able to help you spark a creative idea or two.
We’ve all been told at one time or another, “Be quiet! I’m trying to think.” Well, it could be that may not be the best admonishment to get the creative juices flowing. A study published in the Journal of Consumer Research finds that when you compare next to no noise (or silence) to moderate levels of ambient noise, turns out moderate noise wins out as a better environment in which to create.
Apparently it works this way. Moderate background noise (70 decibels) creates enough of a distraction to push people to think more creatively whereas complete silent can have the opposite effect. The researchers say a relatively noisy environment like a cafe or coffee shop may actually trigger the brain to think abstractly and in turn generate creative ideas. (I’m sure the caffeine doesn’t hurt.)
The study also cautions that excessive noise like a jackhammer isn’t the answer either. Too much noise really does make it hard to think. Guess its true that as with many other aspects of life, moderation is the key, literally.
So, the next time your project calls for a jolt of creativity, excuse yourself and head to the nearest coffee house. Who knows what you’ll come up with.
What are some of your best ideas for sparking creativity and do you agree or disagree with the findings of this study?