Cafe Buzz Is Good For Your Creativity

Cafe Buzz Is Good For Your Creativity

Head over to your neighbourhood cafe if you want to get that novel finished or make major headway on your project. A new study suggest the ambient background noise or buzz of conversation in public places can fuel creativity.

Photo by Kevin Harber

Many of us are more productive and focused at cafes because we’re working in public. This new study published in the Journal of Consumer Research included several experiments and involved more than 300 people. It showed that those who had ambient noise in the background (70 decibels, the level that you’d hear in a bustling cafe) scored higher in objective word-association tests and their answers were rated more creative by other participants.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the study:

Adds to research suggesting that small doses of distraction – including hard-to-read fonts – prompt the mind to work at a more abstract level, which is also a more creative level. […]There’s a sweet spot between silence and din.

Do you feel more creative at the coffee shop or with conversations buzzing in the background?

A Creative Buzz [The Wall Street Journal via GigaOM]


  • I really agree with this article. When I am paitning in the studio, I cant function without music and noise. I find that noise/music/energy as in what you find in a cafe fuels my creativity big time. For me: Stimulus = creativity.
    It’s different for everyone though.

  • Constant background noise such as that in a cafe helps me get into creative flow. I’m a highly auditory person, and tend to have my own auditory distractions popping into my brain as I think, unless there’s other noise of an indecipherable sort to block that channel.

    However, this applies only to constant, indecipherable background noise. Put me into an open office where to the left of me 3 guys are unboxing and setting up PC’s for testing, and to the right of me, two people are having a meeting about a new version of some software package I don’t use, and on the other side of my cube wall someone’s on the phone talking to a vendor, and my productivity rapidly heads to zero.

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