The science of creativity

I came across an article in the journal of Urban Forestry & Urban Greening that got me thinking about how we can enhance our creativity. This particular article interviewed seventeen Danish creative professionals in an effort to determine whether nature has the capacity to enhance creativity. Spoiler: it does. But in my experience, so does standing in the shower.

What else enhances creativity? Surely studies have been done? I admit these thoughts sent me down a bit of a rabbit hole, so I’ll do you the service of summarising what helps with enhancing creativity, according to scientific studies:

  • dreaming (specifically REM sleep—those who had dreams were more creative when they woke compared with those who did not dream or simply sat quietly)
  • intercultural experiences (specifically, engagement with cultural diversity)
  • hypnosis (although the jury is still out on whether this is proven beyond a doubt)
  • microdosing LSD (science finally proving what we all knew anyway)
  • listening to music (can enhance creativity and focus)

Personally, I’m not into drugs, but having experience with each of the others on this list, I think the science is compatible with the anecdata. No studies have been done about going camping in the wilderness and simultaneously listening to music from a different culture while asleep or hypnotised, but I wonder if that would amplify the effects or cancel it out? An interesting thought, and maybe something I will try someday soon.

Do you have any tried and true techniques that you find enhance your creativity that are not mentioned above? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.