Need a creativity boost? Try listening to Antonio Vivaldi's Spring or any happy music.
Simone Ritter, at Radboud University in the Netherlands, and Sam Ferguson, at the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia, have been studying silence and different music's effect on our thinking.
“People in lots of contexts use music to help them work,” says Ferguson. Understanding how music affect creativity could be useful to a lot of people, he says.
They utilized 155 people which were equally divided to five group. Four of which had to listen to a certain type of music while taking series of tests, while the fifth group took it in silence. Two specific types of thinking were measured in the tests: divergent thinking on which they generate new ideas, and convergent thinking on which they find the best solutions for a problem.
Results showed those who were listening to what they perceive as positive music became more creative (i.e. more likely to come up with unique ideas) than those who didn't listen to any music while working. This, however, is only true for the divergent thinking. As for the convergent thinking, results suggest that it could be better done in silence.
“We also tested other musical excerpts that were sad, anxious and calm, and didn’t see this effect,” says Ferguson. “It seems that the type of music present is important, rather than just any music.”
According to Irma Järvelä, at the University of Helsinki in Finland, the boost of creativity could be due to the release of dopamine--a brain chemical that plays a role in pleasure and satisfaction. “Dopamine also increases creative thinking and goal-directed working,” says Järvelä.
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