Scientists say nibbling something SWEET could help to boost your creativity

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If you’re having trouble completing your crossword or your Wordle, try nibbling something sweet.

The taste of sweetness can boost creativity, researchers found.

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

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

The link with creativity is attributed to the way people associate sweet taste with positive experiences and situations.

Because positive situations are not threatening, they open our minds more, said lead researcher Dr. Lidan Xu.

If you're having trouble completing your crossword or your Wordle, try nibbling something sweet

If you’re having trouble completing your crossword or your Wordle, try nibbling something sweet

Background music disrupts creativity

The common belief that music stimulates brain function and stimulates creativity may be little more than a myth, after researchers found “strong” evidence that the opposite was true.

A new study found that music significantly “disrupts” many brain functions associated with creativity, including verbal ability and problem solving.

However, running these tasks under library environments had no impact on performance compared to working silently.

Putting on background music while you work or think can actually hinder creativity and hinder concentration, contrary to popular belief.

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“When people perceive the nature of a situation as positive, without threat, they are willing to adopt an exploratory mindset, broadening their focus to new ideas,” says Dr. Xu, of the University of North Texas in the US.

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

And there’s no need to feel a positive mood change from the sweet taste to boost our creativity — it still acts as a signal for more inspired thinking because of our history with sweet foods, said Dr. xu.

“Sweet taste can influence creativity independently because of the associations people have developed with the sweet taste experience, which goes beyond what sweet taste does for our mood,” says Dr. Xu.

“Sweet foods are often consumed in a positive environment, such as when seeking comfort, at parties (eg birthdays) or family/friendship gatherings,” she says.

‘Evolutionarily, sweetness is also considered the most pleasant taste in nature and benign.

“In the old days, people tried to use taste to distinguish whether a food was poisonous or not, so sweet food indicates safety, energy and non-toxic.

“Through these positive associations that humans have developed over a long period of time, sweetness has evolved into a positive implicit affective” [relating to mood] cue.’

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

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

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

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

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

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

And a further test found that ignoring the positive connections people made to sweet tastes by telling them how bad for their health sugary things were attenuated the sweet taste’s effect on creativity, showing it’s link with positivity. is the driving force.

But if you’re reading this thinking about the effect of sweet treats on your waistline, you might try just imagining one: One of the experiments found that focusing only on the idea of ​​a sweet taste vs. imagining salty, bitter and neutral flavors, led to higher creative performance.

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

‘It is important that our studies show that the effect of sweet taste on creativity can already occur when tasting a sweet snack, such as a single candy, a bite-sized biscuit 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 promote creative output.”

WORKING FROM HOME REDUCES CREATIVITY COMMUNICATION AND TEAMWORK

Working from home reduces creativity, communication and teamwork, according to a new study by researchers at Microsoft.

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

They found that working from home (WFH) made employees “more silent on how they communicate” and forced them to engage in fewer real-time conversations.

It also made it more difficult for employees from different departments to acquire and share new information, which could affect a company’s ‘productivity and innovation’.

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

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