Positive Mood Seems to Boost Creativity

Happy people are better able than sad people to think innovatively, study finds

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MONDAY, Dec. 20, 2010 (HealthDay News) -- People who are seeking creative inspiration should try to look on the bright side, the results of a new study suggest.

Canadian researchers used happy or sad video and music clips to put participants into different moods and then had them learn to classify sets of pictures with visually complex patterns.

People in a happy mood were better able to learn a rule to classify the patterns than those with sad or neutral moods, said Ruby Nadler, a graduate student at the University of Western Ontario, and colleagues.

The happy music used in the study was a lively Mozart piece, while the happy video featured a laughing baby. The sad music was from the movie Schindler's List, and the sad video was from a news report about an earthquake.

"If you have a project where you want to think innovatively, or you have a problem to carefully consider, being in a positive mood can help you to do that," Nadler said in an Association for Psychological Science news release.

The findings, published in the Dec. 15 issue of the journal Psychological Science, may explain why some people watch funny videos on their computers at work.

"I think people are unconsciously trying to put themselves in a positive mood," Nadler suggested.

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SOURCE: Association for Psychological Science, news release, Dec. 15, 2010

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