A study has revealed that playing and listening to happy music can improve our capacity to be creative. Laboratories, lecture halls as well as boardrooms may in the future be blaring out Vivaldi. Without creativity, science, technology, business, the arts, and education would all slow down to a halt, so the importance of creativity needs no introduction!
Considering problems with innovation and insight is vital in the world of ever-increasing complexity. However, some academics believe that we are becoming somewhat less creative as the decades ago as a society, and it could be an issue for future generations facing the challenges involved in a postmodern society if this is the case.
Recently researchers from the University of Technology Sydney in Australia and Radboud University in Nijmegen, the Netherlands working together to study a simple way of influencing creativity by listening to music. Their intriguing results were published in the PLOS ONE journal.
Over time the so-called Mozart crutch effect is still debated, and many researchers have studied whether music improves cognitive performance. However, papers looking at whether music can influence creativity are uncommon. Recent study authors explain part of their focus.
The present project attempts to shed more light on the relationship between listening to music and optimizing creative cognitive development. The project is the first to test if listening to particular types of music helps creative cognition.
Understanding music’s effect on creativity
The study, led by Sam Ferguson in Australia and Simone Ritter in the Netherlands, enlisted 155 participants.
First, they self-assess their current mood by filling out a questionnaire. Next, these participants were divided into five experimental cohorts, four of which were presented with various pieces of music, and the fifth was kept in silence. The music segments were categorize by mood and excitement state:
Sad (low excitement): Adagio for Strings by Samuel Barber; Opus 11
Anxious (high excitement): The Planets: Bringer of War by Gustav Holst
Calm (low excitement): Carnival of the Animals: The Swan by Camille Saint-Saëns XIII
Happy (high excitement): The 4 Seasons, Opus 8, -Movement 1, Number 1, RV 269, Spring Allegro by Antonio Vivaldi
The participants were then to perform a range of cognitive tasks to test their levels of convergent and divergent creative thinking once the music had begun.
The authors rationalize divergent thinking as creating various answers from available information by creating unexpected and interesting combinations. Transforming information into unforeseen forms, or recognizing links among foreign associates, i.e., a moderately creative process.
Convergent thinking fabricates the best single answer to a number of posed problems and is more logical. This may mean that it is considers a less creative process in general.
Vivaldi stimulates innovation
Test subjects with a higher rate of divergent creativity are those who develop the most original and useful solutions to the tasks. In contrast, those with the likely solution received marks for convergent creativity.
The research trio found that playing ‘happy music’ increased divergent creativity but not increase convergent creativity when compared with no stimuli.
The authors explain that happy music can boost one of two possible parameters. It could be that happy music boosts mental state and creativity, but convergent creativity did not improve.
The research triggers some new set of questions that were answered as well as there is a range of variables that could be tested, like the age and musical experience. The influence of various cultural backgrounds. Besides, musical genres and volume levels may play vital roles since music is such a cheap and simple involvement. The findings may have sizable consequences in social science, education, and business alike.
It is nice to consider that our creative musical outpouring may improve another person’s ability to be creative. But the results will need to be replicated in larger trials
We wonder if playing music in every culture has helped humankind to overcome the numerous problems and puzzles that they have faced over millennia.