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Coffee Shops Good for Creativity Buzz

Need a new reason to get out of the office? New research suggests the noise of a bustling cafe can help stimulate ideas.

Need a little inspiration? Try heading to the nearest coffee shop.

Environments with some noise can stimulate ideas and heighten your ability to perform creative tasks more than a completely quiet space, according to a recent research study.

A "moderate level of ambient noise,” the study says, is in the range of 70 decibels, which The Atlantic reports is about what you'll find at your local coffee shop--you know the one: multiple people typing on computers, latte milk steaming, and a low lull of indie-pop music.

A research team led by Ravi Metter, assistant professor of business administration at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, staged five tests to see how ambient noise affects creativity. The Journal of Consumer Research recently published the results of the team’s research, which found that participants who brainstormed ideas in a space with a medium level of background noise showed the highest performance on creative tasks when compared to different noise levels.

“Instead of burying oneself in a quiet room trying to figure out a solution, walking out of one's comfort zone and getting into a relatively noisy environment may trigger the brain to think abstractly, and thus generate creative ideas,” the study says.

IMAGE: Flickr/Luz Bratcher
Last updated: Jun 21, 2012

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