Coffee Shop Creativity | Omega

Can the sounds at a coffee shop actually boost your creative output? 

Walk into almost any coffee shop around the world and you will usually find a scene comprised of people in deep thought above their laptops, old friends catching up over steamy cups, and the strong smells of espresso and baked goods. 

Many people attest that coffee shops help them to be their most creative and productive. Is it the atmosphere? The simple act of leaving the house? Being surrounded by people?

One website credits the ambient background noise. Coffitivity offers a creative boost from your computer thanks to recordings of coffee shop sounds that you can play at any time.

“Research shows it's pretty hard to be creative in a quiet space and a loud workplace can be frustrating and distracting,” according to the website. “But, the mix of calm and commotion in an environment like a coffee house is proven to be just what you need to get those creative juices flowing.”

The site was inspired by a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research that looked at the effects of ambient noise on creativity. The study found that high levels of noise actually impair creativity, while medium levels of noise, like the ones at a café, open your mind to more abstract, creative thinking.

The researchers warn that when you need to really concentrate on something like editing a paper or paying bills, you are better off in silence. But when it comes to creative pursuits, a little background noise goes a long way.

© 2014 Omega Institute for Holistic Studies