The time of day you’re most creative according to science

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Trying to get your creative juices flowing can be difficult when you're half asleep and caffeine deprived. Sometime you simply struggle to force a good idea out of your brain or string an eloquent sentence together.

A study in 2011, published in the journal Thinking & Reasoning may hold the secret to the best time to try to be inventive and creative though.

Conducted by Mareike B. Weith and Rose T. Zacks, their study focused on how the time of day effected one's ability to solve problems creatively.

'Inhibitory processes' control the flow of information from thought and perception, and help prevent your brain from becoming distracted.

Weith and Zacks, in the introduction to their paper, noted that inhibitory processes have been found to fluctuate based on the time of day.

For their study, 428 students at a 'large Midwestern university' reported whether or not they felt they were more of a morning, or an evening person.

Their choice designated either morning or evening as their 'optimal' time of day. Of those with a definite preference, 28 were optimal in morning, and 195 felt they worked best in the evening.

The participants were then randomly assigned a time of day to complete a set of problems set by the researchers. These problems required either analytical or insight thinking.

The results showed that all subjects were better at insight thinking during their 'non-optimal' time of day. Insight thinking requires creativity, as it involves retrieving information from other sections of your brain.

Morning people were better at these problems in the evening, and vice versa.

Your brain is better at filtering out distractions during your 'optimal' time of day, meaning you are more alert and focussed on the problem in hand. This focus means you are less likely to seek a creative solution.

So morning people should wait until the evening to write that novel, just before bed, and night owls should begin their mosaic once they have got through pressing snooze seven or eight times.

HT Design Taxi

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