the specialist found that hikers scored 50 percent better on an imagination tests after spending four days in nature disconnected from their electronics.
If you’re searching for a little creative motivation in your life, you may not have to look any further than your own backyard.
A review by specialists at the University of Utah and the University of Kansas found that backpackers scored 50 percent better on a creativity test after spending four days in nature disconnected from electronic gadgets.
The review included 56 men and women with an average age of 28. They all went on four-to-six day hiking trips in Alaska, Colorado, Maine, and Washington state. They weren’t allowed to bring any electronic devices on the trips.
About half of the participants took a creativity test the morning before they started their trip, and 32 took the test on the morning of the fourth day of the trip.
During the test, members were given 10 sets of three matching words. For each set, they were asked to come up with a fourth word that is tied to the next three.
Specialists found that those the individuals who had been backpacking four days got an average of 6.08 of the 10 questions correct, compared with an average score of 4.14 for the individuals who had not yet started the backpacking trip.
“We show that four days of immersion in nature, and the corresponding disconnection from multimedia and technology, increases performance on a creativity, problem-solving task by a full 50 percent,” the Specialists said in a press release.
The specialists think the reason that nature has a positive effect on creativity might be because participants weren’t able to multitask without their electronic devices. They cite earlier reviews on the “attentional restoration theory,” that says that technology and multitasking place demands on our ability to switch tasks, stay on task, and stop distracting actions and thoughts, and that nature is effective in restoring those abilities.
“Our modern society is filled with sudden occasions (sirens, horns, television, alarms, ringing phones, etc.) that hijack attention,” the specialists wrote. “By contrast, natural environments are associated with gentle, soft fascination, allowing the executive attentional system to replenish.”
Nature isn’t the only thing proven to boost creativity. Another review from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders at the National Institutes of Health found that lyrical improvisation, used widely in the freestyle rap, seems to occur in areas of the brain associated with motivation, language, emotion, and motor skills.