Why a radio could make a perfect home working companion

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.


I’m Mary Cummings, a ghostwriter, collaborator and all round word doctor. I help business owners write and publish business books; I'm also passionate about helping creative freelancers find work that they love - their work sweet spot with work on their terms, projects they love and clients who are a dream to work for.

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