Daydreaming at work ‘boosts creativity’
Staring into space at their workplace could help employees become more creative and even help the business, psychologists have claimed.
Two studies – carried out by Dr Sandi Mann and Rebekah Cadman at the University of Central Lancashire – explored the effects of “passive” boredom, like staring into space during meetings, the Daily Mail reported.
In the first study, 40 volunteers were asked to do a boring task, where they copied numbers out of a telephone directory for 15 minutes.
The people were then told to complete another work, which asked them to come up with different uses for a pair of polystyrene cups, giving them a chance to showcase their creativity.
It turned out that the people who did the boring work were more creative than a control group of 40, who had just been asked to come up with uses.
This second study had 30 people copying out the numbers as before, but also included a second group of 30, who were reading rather than writing them.
Again the researchers found that people in the control group were least creative, but people, who had just read the names were more creative than those who had to write them out.
This suggested that more passive boring activities, like reading or perhaps attending meetings, could lead to more creativity – while writing, by reducing the scope for daydreaming, reduces the creativity-enhancing effects of boredom.
Mann’s findings will be presented at the Annual Conference of the British Psychological Society Division of Occupational Psychology in Chester.