“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, then what are we to think of an empty desk?” said Einstein. So, if you’re a slob around the house, does that make you a genius?
A psychological study from the University of Minnesota suggests the answer is “yes.”
Researchers discovered that participants who were asked to find a novel use for a ping-pong ball came up with more interesting and creative ideas in messy rooms than tidy rooms.
The study found that mess improves creativity – which is great news for those of us who are organizationally challenged.
People living in messy rooms are more likely to break free of tradition and provide fresh insights; “orderly environments, in contrast, encourage convention and playing it safe,” explained psychological scientist Kathleen Voh.
However, Voh also found that those living in tidy environments make better decisions. When participants were asked to choose between an apple and a chocolate bar, those in the tidy rooms invariably chose the apple. In the messy rooms, a chocolate bar was the snack of choice.
Tidy room participants were also more inclined to donate money to charity. Voh concluded that people might feel more encouraged to do what is expected of them by surroundings that are ship-shape.
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