In today’s world, creative thinking is needed more than ever. Not only do many businesses seek creative minds to fill their ranks, but the kinds of complex social problems we face could also use a good dose of creativity.
Luckily, creativity is not reserved for artists and geniuses alone. Modern science suggests that we all have the cognitive capacity to come up with original ideas—something researchers call “divergent thinking.” And we can all select from a series of ideas the one most likely to be successful, which researchers call “convergent thinking.”
Though we may not all be equally accomplished at these kinds of thinking, we can all become more skillful in creative problem-solving—whether the problems we face involve figuring out technological challenges at work or the next steps to take in creating a new painting. The question is how.
One new study explores music as a source of creativity. Since music has been shown to improve cognition and enhance learning and memory in other studies, it makes sense that perhaps it has an impact on creative thinking, too.
In the experiment, participants tried creativity exercises that measured divergent or convergent thinking while being exposed to either silence (the control scenario) or classical music that evoked four distinct emotional states: happy, calm, sad, or anxious.
After comparing participant performance on divergent and convergent thinking in the five scenarios, the researchers found that participants who’d listened to happy music had... (READ MORE)