Scientists Say Snacking on Something SWEET Could Help Boost Your Creativity

If you are having trouble finishing your crossword or your wordleyou can try snacking on something sweet.

The sweet taste can boost creativity, researchers have found.

But it’s not about the brain getting a sweet hit, they said.

The sweet taste effect was specific to creativity – and did not improve people’s performance on analytical and attention-to-detail tasks.

The link to creativity is thought to be due to the way humans associate sweet taste with positive experiences and situations.

Because positive situations are non-threatening, they allow our minds to become more open, said lead researcher Dr. Lidan Xu.

If you’re having trouble finishing your crossword or wordle, you can try snacking on something sweet

Background music disrupts creativity

The common belief that music boosts brain function and boosts creativity may just be a myth, after researchers found ‘strong’ evidence to suggest the opposite is true.

A new study has shown that music significantly disrupts a host of brain functions associated with creativity, including verbal ability and problem solving.

Performing these tasks in library environments, however, did not affect performance compared to working quietly.

Putting on background music while you work or revise could actually stifle creativity and prevent concentration, contrary to popular belief.

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“When people perceive the nature of a situation as positive and not as threatening, they are ready to adopt an exploratory mindset, which broadens their focus to encompass new ideas,” said Dr. Xu, from the University of North Texas in the United States.

In contrast, analytical and attention-to-detail tasks require a more narrow and rigid orientation, she said.

And experiencing a positive mood shift from sweetness doesn’t have to be to increase our creativity – it always acts as a cue for more inspired thinking because of our history with sweet foods, said Dr. Xu.

“Sweet taste may independently influence creativity due to the associations people have developed with the experience of sweet taste, beyond what sweet taste does to our mood,” Dr. Xu said.

“Sweet foods are often eaten in a positive environment, such as when seeking comfort, at celebrations (eg, birthdays) or family/friend gatherings,” she said.

“Evolutionary, sweetness is also considered nature’s most pleasant taste and is considered benign.

“In fact, in ancient times, people tried to use taste to differentiate whether a food was toxic or not, so sweet foods signal safety, energy and non-toxicity.

“Because of these positive associations that people have developed over a long period of time, sweetness has developed into a positive implicit affect. [relating to mood] waiting line.’

The researchers, whose findings are published in the journal Organizational behavior and human decision-making processesconducted seven different experiments.

The sweet taste effect was specific to creativity – and did not improve people's performance on analytical and attention-to-detail tasks

The sweet taste effect was specific to creativity – and did not improve people’s performance on analytical and attention-to-detail tasks

These included a blind taste test with different tasting liquids to establish that it was indeed the sensory experience of sweetness, rather than another taste, that stimulated creativity. This experiment also tracked participants’ moods and found that the sweet taste didn’t have to make people happier to have an effect.

Other experiments directly compared the effect of sweet taste on creative versus non-creative tasks.

And another test found that overriding the positive connections people made to sweet tastes by telling them how bad things sweet were for their health weakened the effect of sweet taste on creativity, showing that it is the connection with positivity that is the driving force.

But if you’re reading this thinking about the effect sugary treats have on your waistline, you could just try imagining one instead: One of the experiments found that focusing on just the idea of a sweet taste rather than imagining salty, bitter and neutral tastes, leads to higher creative performance.

“Of course, there is no doubt that consuming excessive amounts of sugar is bad for your health, and we are not advocating an increase in sugar consumption,” Dr. Xu said.

“Importantly, our studies demonstrate that the effect of sweet taste on creativity can appear even with a simple sweet snack taste, such as a single candy, a small cookie or a piece of dried fruit.

“We also show that the effect occurs without actual consumption,” she said, adding that simply imagining a “sweet taste experience can foster creative production.”

WORKING FROM HOME REDUCES CREATIVITY COMMUNICATION AND TEAMWORK

Working from home reduces creativity, communication and teamwork, a new study from Microsoft researchers has found.

Researchers at the Redmond, Wash.-based tech giant looked at data from more than 61,000 company employees from December 2019, before the lockdown, through June 2020.

They found that working from home (WFH) made workers “more siled in the way they communicate” and forced them to engage in fewer real-time conversations.

It was also more difficult for employees in different departments to acquire and share new information, which could have implications for a company’s “productivity and innovation”.

On the other hand, working from home meant employees spent fewer hours in meetings – often criticized as too long and a waste of time.