Creative thinking is needed more and more these days. Not only do businesses demand it but the complex social situations of modern times require it, as well.But is creativity limited to artistic geniuses? No, says modern scientists. According to research, everyone has the cognitive capacity to come up with new and creative ideas. That's good news for both humans and us frogs! Scientists call this ability "divergent thinking." When we can all select from a series of ideas that will be the most successful, that is called "convergent thinking."
Although not everyone can be equally accomplished at these kinds of thinking, we can become more skillful in creative problem-solving. How? One study explored how music can help us become more creative. Music has been shown to improve cognition and enhance learning and memory. So it makes sense that it can have an impact on creative thinking, as well. In one experiment, the participants tried creativity exercises that measured divergent and convergent thinking in five different scenarios; silence (the control group), or classical music that evoked either happy, sad, calm or anxious emotional states. Researchers found that the group who listened to the "happy" classical music had significantly higher scores on divergent thinking than those who performed in silence. The "happy" participants came up with more total ideas and more creative and innovative ideas. The other types of music had no impact.
The results suggest that listening to happy music increases performance on overall divergent thinking. This suggests the authors of the study say, that happy music enhances the cognitive flexibility needed to come up with innovative solutions. What I found interesting, was that it didn't matter if the participants even liked the music they were listening to; it had a positive impact on all of the participants in that group. Too, none of the music types had any impact on convergent thinking. "The increase in divergent but not convergent thinking after listening to happy music may be explained by the fact that the convergent tasks rely less on fluency and flexibility, but on finding one correct answer,” write the authors.
It may also have something to do with the mood created by happy music. According to researcher Barbara Fredrickson, "happiness is considered a positive emotion that broadens our mindset and enhances our desire to explore and play." Whatever the case may be, humans may want to listen to happy music while they work, especially if that work involves coming up with new ways of looking at a problem. "As the authors conclude, 'music listening may be useful to promote creative thinking in inexpensive and efficient ways in various scientific, educational, and organizational settings when creative thinking is needed'.”
I regularly listen to the tunes on my iPod as I write these blogs. That may explain why some of them are so long. The music gets my creativity flowing and I can't stop writing! Anyway, dear reader, thanks for reading and I hope you have some happy music of your own to listen to. It can seem as if today's world has gone completely crazy. We need all the creativity we can muster up to help get it back on track.