Specialists found that hikers scored 50 percent better on imagination tests after spending four days in nature unconnected from their electronics.
If you’re searching for a little creative motivation in your life, you may not need to look any further than your own backyard.
A review by researchers at the University of Kansas and the University of Utah found that backpackers scored 50 percent better on an imagination test after spending four days in nature disconnected from electronic devices.
The review included 56 men and women with an average age of 28. They all went on four-to-six day climbing trips in Colorado, Alaska, Maine, and Washington state. They weren’t allowed to bring any electronic devices on the trips.
About half of the members 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, participants were given 10 sets of three coordinating words. For each set, they were asked to come up with a fourth word that is tied to the another three.
Specialists found that the people who had been backpacking four days got an average of 6.08 of the 10 questions correct, contrasted with an average score of 4.14 for those who had not yet started the backpacking trip.
“We show that four days of immersion in nature, and the comparing disconnection from technology and multimedia, increases performance on a creativity, problem-solving task by an entire 50 percent,” the Specialists said in a press release.
The specialists think the reason that nature has a positive effect on creativity may be because participants weren’t able to multitask without their electronic devices. They cite earlier studies 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 thoughts and activities, and that nature is effective in restoring those capacities.
“Our modern society is filled with sudden occasions (sirens, television, ringing phones, horns, alarms, etc.) that hijack attention,” the researchers composed. “By contrast, natural environments are related with gentle, soft fascination, allowing the executive attentional system to replenish.”
Nature isn’t the only thing demonstrate 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 a freestyle rap, seems to occur in areas of the brain associated with motivation, language, motor skills, and emotion.