Vivaldi & Creativity: Music is the Muse

Pacific Standard: “Crank up the music. Not just any music—something upbeat and stimulating, such as the opening movement of Antonio Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons. In a study published in the online journal PLoS One, participants proved more skillful at generating creative ideas if that cheerful, chirpy concerto was playing in the background.”

“Their study featured 155 people recruited online, the majority of whom were college students. All performed a series of creativity-related tests, including the well-known Alternative Uses Task, in which they were given three minutes to list as many “different and creative uses” they could come up with for a common object—in this case, a brick … Additional tests measured ‘convergent thinking,’ the part of the creative process in which all those crazy ideas are narrowed down to find the optimal solution to a problem.”

“The key result: Compared to working in silence, listening to the uplifting Vivaldi was ‘associated with an increase in divergent thinking.’ Convergent thinking, on the other hand, was not significantly affected by background music.”

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