Dim and Cluttered Work Spaces Actually Boost Creativity

Is there an ideal atmosphere for creativity and innovation? Research suggests that dim light, a little messiness, and a shot of liquid courage are all boons to the artistic spirit.

Is there an ideal atmosphere for creativity and innovation? According to new research, as reported by The Atlantic's Cody C. Delistraity, you should probably model your home office after the forensics rooms from CSI and other crime shows. Darkness, apparently, is the key to creative light:


"Darkness and dim lighting can encourage freedom of thought, which leads to a more prolific generation of ideas, according to a recent paper in the Journal of Environmental Psychology. Specifically, dim lighting downplays a room’s distractions, promoting focus on internal reflection and the work at hand."

While those dim TV forensics rooms are nothing but the stuff of fiction (seriously -- how could you conduct that sort of investigation in cave light?), their atmosphere would probably augment most artistic impulses. Deilistraity lists several other studies that support habits such as working amidst clutter, writing in an ambient setting (such as a coffee shop), and penning first drafts by hand. 

Perhaps most interesting (yet not altogether surprising), Delistraity points to another study that suggests writers who get a little tipsy tend to be more insightful than their sober peers. Just remember that there's a difference between imbibing a little liquid courage and going full F. Scott Fitzgerald. Writing, as with most activities, doesn't get easier above 0.08.

It should be pointed out that these ideas aren't universal. Some folks buck the trends and do better work in silent, sterile environments. Others, like Fitzgerald, can create masterpieces while blasted out of their minds. All the information above suggests is that if you're having trouble finding atmospheres that work for you, a little clutter and noise could do wonders for the creative spirit.

Keep reading at The Atlantic

Photo credit: Masson / Shutterstock

In the following clip, Big Think expert Andrew Sean Greer discusses writing novels, tapping into creativity, and why writers drink so much:

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

4 reasons Martin Luther King, Jr. fought for universal basic income

In his final years, Martin Luther King, Jr. become increasingly focused on the problem of poverty in America.

(Photo by J. Wilds/Keystone/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Despite being widely known for his leadership role in the American civil rights movement, Martin Luther King, Jr. also played a central role in organizing the Poor People's Campaign of 1968.
  • The campaign was one of the first to demand a guaranteed income for all poor families in America.
  • Today, the idea of a universal basic income is increasingly popular, and King's arguments in support of the policy still make a good case some 50 years later.
Keep reading Show less

A world map of Virgin Mary apparitions

She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.

Strange Maps
  • For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
  • These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
  • Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
Keep reading Show less

Why I wear my life on my skin

For Damien Echols, tattoos are part of his existential armor.

Videos
  • In prison Damien Echols was known by his number SK931, not his name, and had his hair sheared off. Stripped of his identity, the only thing he had left was his skin.
  • This is why he began tattooing things that are meaningful to him — to carry a "suit of armor" made up the images of the people and objects that have significance to him, from his friends to talismans.
  • Echols believes that all places are imbued with divinity: "If you interact with New York City as if there's an intelligence behind... then it will behave towards you the same way."
Keep reading Show less