“Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy.” – Ludwig van Beethoven
We all know that music can improve our mood, and it can definitely reveal more than just philosophy and wisdom. But, can it make you more creative? Can it help you to become more focused?
According to neuroscience, it can. But, what kind of music? Blues? Rock and roll?
Simone Ritter and Sam Ferguson, are the researchers who set out to find answers which kind of music will keep you focused and make you more creative.
They divided the 155 participants into 5 groups and gave them questionnaires to complete. Each group was listening to one of the four different music types that the researchers categorized as happy, calm, anxious, or sad, while the fifth group that served as a control group didn’t listen to anything.
While the music was playing, the participants were performing different cognitive tasks which tested their convergent and divergent creative thinking.
Convergent thinking stresses logic and accuracy which applies to decision-making strategies, while divergent thinking is the ability to produce many answers from the sources available while making unexpected associations and combinations using their creative thinking.
Researchers discovered that participants who had higher scores in divergent thinking were the ones who came up with the most useful, original, and creative solutions, while participants who had higher scores in convergent thinking offered a single best possible solution.
For their research, they have chosen 4 music pieces to get the participant into a particular mood – sad (low arousal, negative valance), happy (high arousal, positive valance), calm (low arousal, positive valance), or anxious (high arousal, negative valance).
These are the 4 songs that were chosen:
- Adagio for Strings by Samuel Barber (sad)
- The Four Seasons: Spring by Vivaldi (happy)
- The Swan by Saint-Saens (calm)
- The Planets: Mars, The Bringer of War by Gustav Holst (anxious)
Can you guess what song boosted the creativity levels in the participants?
The answer is Vivaldi’s Four Seasons: Spring.
The researchers found that listening to upbeat and happy music (classical music that has high arousal and evokes positive feelings) is linked with increased levels of divergent thinking.
Listen to this beautiful piece of music and tell us how you feel.
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