Environments That Bring Out Your Creative Best

February 8, 2013  

Here’s today’s Friday Fun Fact

In my Monday Morning Movie, I talked about finding your “third place” to work in order to stimulate new thoughts and escape from the distractions often found in your home and work environment.

When searching for this third location, what appeals to you personally will vary.  However, if you are looking to boost your creative potential, your choice of environment can have a surprisingly big impact on your results.

Color: The expression “seeing red” is used to define a state of irritation and annoyance. Growing up we have had social cues that have made this color synonymous with danger, mistakes, and caution such as stops signs, emergency vehicles, and teacher’s correction pens. A study by Mehta and Zhu shows that red creates a heightened state that is good for detail oriented tasks.  However, if you are looking to broaden your thinking, go blue!  Blue is associated with the sky, ocean and other tranquil surroundings improving performance on creative tasks due to its calming effects.  As discussed last week – a quiet mind is a creative mind.

Ceiling height:  Want to have more expansive thinking?  Pick a more expansive environment.  In a study by Zhu and Meyers-Levy, it is revealed that “exposure to a high versus low ceiling can prime freedom-related versus confinement-related concepts…and ceiling-height-induced concepts can elicit predominately relational versus item-specific processing, respectively.” In other words, high-ceilings encourage big picture thinking and greater creativity, while lower-ceiling areas induce better focus and attention.

Sound:  Most people think that silence fosters a more inspired work environment, but this is not necessarily the case.  Research has found that a moderate level of ambient noise, that equivalent to a background TV or radio, disrupts the flow of thought. Doing so leads to abstract thinking, in turn, enhancing creativity.

Color, space and sound influence your ability to think creatively.  So when seeking out your “third place” be sure to select an appropriate location that will complement the activities you need to execute.

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