Dancing in the dark: Let creativity bloom when the lights are out

by HCA08 Nov 2013

Original thoughts and creative ideas are more likely to flow in the darker hours of the day, new – and kind of whacky – research has found.

Psychologists, who conducted research on how darkness triggers cognitive processing, found a boost in creativity when one is in darkness or even just thinking about dark places, innovation-news blog Co.Design reported.

The researchers made participants describe either a dark or bright location in detail, and then, in a distinctly unscientific twist, had them draw an alien. Those who had discussed a dark location drew more imaginative aliens. Yes, more imaginative aliens. With X-ray vision and other cool stuff.

However, the research also found that logic problems were more easily solved by those in a well-lit environment, so don’t go and switch off all the lights around the office yet.

Although this research is rather dubious, best-selling author Toni Morrison is an advocate of creating in the dark. She told The Paris Review that spending the early hours with a coffee in hand made her more creative – it wasn’t about being there with the light, it was about ‘arriving’ before it.

Think about what you and your staff are currently working on. Is it more creatively driven, or does is it in a more logical/analytical stage? Depending on your answer, you might want to close those blinds. Especially if they are designing aliens.