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Want to Boost Creativity? Researchers Recommend Dimming the Lights

If you’re in a creative rut right now, according to a recent study you may be able to get out of it by simply flipping the switch. That is, on the lightbulb.

According to a recent study published by the Journal of Environmental Psychology (via Inc.), dark rooms may boost creativity. Apparently they promote a more global perspective which can bolster creative juices.

Two researchers in Germany conducted six experiences to observe aspects of creativity. In the first three studies, they asked participants to describe a dark or bright environment and do a word search related to one of the two illuminations. Next, researchers measured their creativity by an imagination task, speed accuracy test or an alternate-use game. Researchers concluded that darker conditions led to exploratory behavior and surges in creativity.

Moving right along, participants were also placed in a room that was either dimly lit, bright or at the level recommended for offices. Subjects sat for 15 minutes before they began a creative logic test. Then they completed a self-evaluation regarding how comfortable they felt.

Researchers noticed the dimmer rooms were connected to more problem solving and higher levels of reported comfort by the subjects. That said, dim light wasn’t always beneficial. It didn’t bolster creativity when participants felt inhibited.

As for how we can apply this study to our own work environment, hit the dimmer switch and ask your colleagues if they feel comfortable.

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