Fancy a cuppa of creativity? Tea found to enrich ideas

It may probably win in the health stakes, but water lags seriously behind a simple cup of tea if you’re after ideas, a study suggests.

In fact, in both a block-building experiment -- to test spatial creativity, and a restaurant-naming experiment -- to test semantic creativity, tea-drinkers convincingly outperformed water-drinkers.

Run by Peking University’s School of Psychological and Cognitive Science, the experiments indicate that the creative advantage takes place quickly, as the block-builders were assessed within 10 mins following tea consumption, and the name-imaginers within 20 minutes.

Nonetheless, the school said the findings appear to represent the “first to empirically demonstrate that tea drinking improves divergent thinking creativity.”

The use of two different experiments, each testing different aspects of creativity (the naming group had to conjure up names that were “cool and attractive”), was said by the school to demonstrate the robustness of the creative effect.

However, tea didn’t do much for the respondents’ ‘playfulness’ in terms of name selection, nor their ability to come up with more names as, broadly, they matched the water-drinkers in these two criteria.

“Although drinking tea improves cognitive creativity, it may not significantly increase the level of playfulness compared to drinking water,” the school said.

“This result is reasonable because tea consumption leads to calmness, a moderate level of arousal, and alertness and these mental states are unrelated to playfulness.”

Interestingly for freelancers in a rush, or without large mugs, the school pointed out that the respondents didn’t take long to finish their creative tasks, and did not drunk much --- only about half a cup.

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