Simone Ritter of Radboud University, Netherlands and his collegue Sam Ferguson of University of Technology Sydney, Australia found that listening to happy music enabled individuals to develop and think innovative solutions as compared to listening to silence. They conducted the experiment on 155 participants, dividing them into four groups. Each group listened to one of four different types of music that were categorized as calm, happy, sad, or anxious, depending on their emotional valence (positive, negative) and arousal (high, low), while one control group listened to silence. The participants had to perform various cognitive tasks while listening to the music. They were rated for divergent and convergent creativity. Most novel and useful solutions were rated higher on divergent creativity while participants who came up with the single best possible solution to a task scored higher in convergent creativity . The researchers found that listening to happy music, which they define as classical music that is positive valence and high in arousal, facilitates more divergent creative thinking compared to silence. The researchers were of the opinion that the variables involved in the happy music condition may enhance flexibility in thinking, so that additional solutions might be considered by the participant that may not have occurred to them as readily if they were performing the task in silence.
Source: PLOS ONE