It doesn’t matter what you have to accomplish… whether you’re feeling stuck at work, around the house, or at school, this can help you with whatever’s on your list: Try listening to a happy tune. According to a recent study, listening to upbeat music boosts creativity, specifically the type of inspired thinking associated with creative problem solving.
The Importance of Divergent Creativity
When it comes to creative problem solving, the ability to think outside the box can make the difference between stagnation and innovation. In the Middle Ages, creative problem solving was often seen as divine inspiration. Today, researchers call it “divergent” creativity, in that it draws beyond conventional methods such as simple brainstorming or idea bouncing.
“Happy” music appears to affect a person’s ability to apply this expanded, inspired thought.
The “Mozart Effect”
Researchers first discovered a connection between music and the mind in an experiment using music by Mozart. They found those who listened to the classical music showed increased spatial reasoning compared to those who worked in silence. While several theories arose as to why the music had such an effect, researchers now believe the findings rest on changes in mood associated with listening to various musical selections.
Music and Mood
In the most recent study, which included 155 participants, responses to four different types of music were evaluated. While listening to a specific selection, each person was asked to list as many creative uses as they could for common household objects. A control group was set to the same tasks, only in silence. The results varied among the different types of music participants were offered, with those who reported listening to upbeat music consistently scoring higher in creativity, originality, and usefulness of ideas.
So next time you feel like you’ve hit a creative brick wall, try turning on your favorite happy song. You might just find the inspiration is just a hum and a skip away.