Happy music can help get your creative juices flowing, say scientists who found listening to happy melodies may help generate more, innovative solutions as compared to silence.
Researchers, including those from University of Technology Sydney in Australia, had 155 participants complete questionnaires and split them into experimental groups.
Each group listened to one of four different types of music that were categorised as calm, happy, sad, or anxious, depending on their emotional valence (positive, negative) and arousal (high, low), while one control group listened to silence.
After the music started playing, participants performed various cognitive tasks that tested their divergent and convergent creative thinking.
Participants who came up with the most original and useful solutions to a task scored higher in divergent creativity, while participants who came up with the single best possible solution to a task scored higher in convergent creativity.
Researchers found that listening to happy music, which they define as classical music that is positive valence and high in arousal, facilitates more divergent creative thinking compared to silence.
The variables involved in the happy music condition may enhance flexibility in thinking, so that additional solutions might be considered by the participant that may not have occurred to them as readily if they were performing the task in silence, researchers said.
This study shows that creative cognition may be enhanced through music.
Researchers suggest that the study may also demonstrate that music listening could promote creative thinking in inexpensive and efficient ways in various scientific, educational and organisational settings.
The study was recently published in the journal PLOS ONE.