Boost Your Creativity: Dim the Lights

lightLike an Alsatian with an ear perpetually tuned to the sound of the can opener, creatives dutifully perk up whenever advice on boosting their creativity is discussed. So listen up Alsatians, according to the September issue of the Journal of Environmental Psychology, we may be at our most creative in near-dark conditions. (No word on whether putting on a little Barry White in the background helps or hinders said creativity.)

As the denizens of PaperSpecs Towers don’t spend a lot of time reading scientific journals, we are in the debt of FastCoDesign, which alerted us to the story, and followed it up on their own. Here’s their explanation for this phenomenon in a nutshell:

The idea is that dark places suggest an uninhibited freedom that loosens our thoughts, and that bright places suggest a compliance that restrains them. Consistent with this theory, the researchers found that study participants who felt self-conscious were immune to the creative charms of dim lights.

Even more interesting, researchers discovered that while creativity abounded in darkened rooms, critical thinking and problem solving required more light. As FastCoDesign concluded, the perfect working environment would require dynamic lighting depending on the type of work being done. Good luck pulling that one off in Cubicle Nation.


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