Happy mu­sic linked to cre­ative think­ing


Lis­ten­ing to happy mu­sic while work­ing may spark the kind of di­ver­gent think­ing that’s as­so­ci­ated with cre­ativ­ity and prob­lem solv­ing, a re­cent study in the Nether­lands sug­gests.

In par­tic­u­lar, clas­si­cal mu­sic that ranks highly for pos­i­tive and en­er­getic qual­i­ties, such as pieces com­posed by An­to­nio Vi­valdi, were most likely to en­cour­age cre­ative think­ing, re­searchers found. “Cre­ativ­ity is one of the core skills needed for deal­ing with a world that is chang­ing faster than ever be­fore,” said study co-au­thor Sam Fer­gu­son of the Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy in Syd­ney, Aus­tralia. “Knowl­edge about ways to fa­cil­i­tate this im­por­tant skill is be­com­ing more crit­i­cal,” he told Reuters. Fer­gu­son and Si­mone Rit­ter

Rad­boud Univer­sity of Ni­jmegen played clas­si­cal mu­sic for 155 Rad­boud stu­dent vol­un­teers as they com­pleted a cre­ativ­ity task. The re­searchers split the stu­dents into five groups, with each group ran­domly as­signed to lis­ten to one of four pieces of mu­sic or to si­lence be­fore and dur­ing their cre­ativ­ity tasks.

The mu­sic pieces were cho­sen for their mood and arousal lev­els. The Swan by Camille Sain­tSaens rep­re­sented a pos­i­tive mood but low arousal level, thus a calm piece of mu­sic. Vi­valdi’s The Four Sea­son­swas the happy piece, Ada­gio for Strings by Sa­muel Bar­ber was the sad, slow piece and The Plan­ets: Mars, Bringer of War by Gus­tav Holst was used as a neg­a­tive, arous­ing — in other words, anx­ious — piece. To test cre­ativ­ity, the re­search team fo­cused mainly on di­ver­gent think­ing, which in­volves pro­duc­ing mul­ti­ple an­swers from avail­able in­for­ma­tion by mak­ing un­ex­pected com­bi­na­tions, recog­nis­ing as­so­ci­a­tions among ideas and trans­form­ing in­for­ma­tion into un­ex­pected forms. Di­ver­gent think­ing is key to to­day’s sci­en­tific, tech­no­log­i­cal and cul­tural fields be­cause in­no­va­tion of­ten pairs dis­parate ideas, the au­thors write in PLoS ONE.

“One thing to point out is that di­ver­gent think­ing is not equiv­a­lent to cre­ative think­ing, but it’s a proxy mea­sure of­ten used in re­search,” said Rex Jung of the Univer­sity of New Mex­ico in Al­bu­querque, who wasn’t in­volved with the study.


Re­searchers found clas­si­cal mu­sic ranks highly for pos­i­tive and en­er­getic qual­i­ties to en­cour­age cre­ative think­ing

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