Moderate levels of noise can contribute towards inspiring creativity and problem solving when home working, new research claims.
According to the University of Illinois, the mild rabble of a crowd – or even a radio – can inspire creative types to think “out-of-the-box”. Anything much louder could easily become a distraction.
Business professor Ravi Mehta called the effect the “Goldilocks principle”, whereby volumes of around 70 decibels mark the “sweet spot.
“What we found is that there’s an inverted-U relationship between noise level and creativity,” the professor told sci-news.com. “It turns out that around 70 decibels is the sweet spot. If you go beyond that, it’s too loud, and the noise starts to negatively affect creativity. It’s the Goldilocks principle – the middle is just right.”
Citing other examples of applicable noise levels, dailymail.co.uk revealed that a single car driving past equates to around 70 decibels, as does a radio – or pub chatter. Beeping lorry horns and a stream of traffic meanwhile are far too loud (85 – 110 decibels), while the rabble of a nearby dinner table is too quiet (60 decibels).
Professor Mehta concluded that those struggling to be creative in a quiet environment might therefore benefit from moving to an area that is slightly noisier.
“Our findings imply that instead of burying oneself in a quiet room trying to figure out a solution, walking outside of one’s comfort zone and getting into a relatively noisy environment like a café may actually trigger the brain to think abstractly, and thus generate creative ideas,” he concluded.