Design

Ambient Noise, Restaurants & Creativity

Have you ever been in a productivity slump? Try studying in a coffee shop!

A recent study in the Journal of Consumer Research looked at how ambient noise affects cognition, mainly with respect to creativity.

According to the study, moderate levels of ambient noise (around 70 decibels) actually helped the performance of the subjects in creative tasks, such as brainstorming ideas for a new type of mattress. (Here is a list of sounds and their decibel levels, as a source of comparison.)

Apparently, moderate background noise actually helps people think more creatively and abstractly because it provides enough distraction. Interesting, right? Usually, we students are told off for getting distracted! (Here is the full study, if you’re interested in reading it!)

If you’re interested in getting ambient noise without leaving the comfort of home (or dorm room), check out this nifty little “coffee shop background noise” website, called Coffitivity. It does sound repetitive in some places, but the goal is to not focus on listening to the noise, but to have it in the back of your mind as you’re working.

Give it a try! (You’ll be surprised about how much work you churn out. I sure was!)

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