If you’re feeling stuck and can’t find the answers to the problem in front of you, research suggests that listening to happy music may help you come up with innovative and useful solutions. While it’s been known for a while that music has a positive impact on cognition, a recent study published in the PLOS ONE journal surveying over 155 people indicates that happy music can promote creative thinking.
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The participants took surveys and were split into separate groups, with each one listening to different types of music that were categorized as happy, calm, sad and anxious. The control group only listened to silence. Once the participants had listened to a few minutes of music, they were asked to complete several cognitive tasks that measured their divergent and convergent creative thinking. Divergent thinking is the more creative method of the two, which describes the way in which we solve an abstract problem that has many possible answers and outcomes. In contrast, convergent thinking is more simple and straightforward, and it’s the method used when solving a well defined problem.
The data gathered concluded that listening to happy music facilitates divergent thinking, enhancing our flexibility when we’re looking for a solution, making us think outside the box. More investigation on this topic would be great since it could find viable and cheap ways of promoting creative thinking, be that in schools or the workplace.