American Psychological Association defines “creativity“as” the ability to produce or develop original work, theories, techniques or thoughts. ”
While this naturally applies to artistry, it can also apply to everyday activities where one takes existing elements and creates something new – such as using the ingredients in sourdough bread to turn the pandemic into food.
A new study from Paris Brain Institute at the Sorbonne University decided to investigate what effect the first COVID-19 lockdown had on creativity.
To explore its impact, they conducted a French-language online survey to learn more about people’s experiences of creativity during this first shutdown in France. The study’s authors hoped to reconcile the apparent paradox with increased creativity in a time of unusual stress.
The 343 participants in the study said they were, on average, more creative during the shutdown than in the previous period.
The results were published in the journal Borders in psychology.
In addition to indicating self-perceived creativity changes or subjective creativity change (SCC), as described above, the researchers presented the participants with a list of 28 creative activities based on existing elements often used by research psychologists, including Statement of creative activities and achievements (ICAA). These included painting, cooking, sewing, gardening, writing and decorating.
Respondents were asked whether they participated in these activities more or less during the lockdown, how often, and why they did so or not.
The top five creative activities that the survey respondents said they were involved in were cooking, sports and dance programs, self-help programs, and gardening.
The researchers also asked about pandemic obstacles that needed to be overcome. There was no clear indication that a greater number of obstacles hindered creativity.
The scale of the obstacles encountered was high for those who were more creative, as well as for those who were less.
“The moment you set limits, the creative mind now begins to work on how do I achieve the goal, conditioned by those limits?” said Dr. Ajay AgrawalUniversity of Toronto, at Disturbing substances podcast.
The two biggest factors for whether a person’s level of creativity during the lockdown increased or decreased were emotional or affective changes and – to a lesser extent – whether the pandemic gave them more free time.
To what extent an individual shows openness – one of them Big Five personality traitsFollowed as a significant factor. The authors chose
According to the study, previous research suggests that a
The authors of the study confirmed that the participants’ affective states were consistent with SCC. The descriptors they asked participants about “included anxiety and stress, motivation, mental pressure, mood and to a lesser extent loneliness and physical limitations.”
Researchers found a link between positive mood and creativity and one between negative affective states and less creativity.
“There is some evidence in the scientific literature that you have to be good to be creative, while other evidence points the other way. It is also not known in which direction this process takes place: do we feel good because we are creative, or does it make us happier to be creative? ”
“Here, one of our analyzes suggests that creative expression enabled individuals to better deal with their negative emotions associated with confinement and therefore feel better during this difficult period.”
– Dr. Alizée Lopez-Persem
The removal of commuting gave many people hours back, giving them more free time, although this was probably not the case for everyone. Parents, for example, may have had less leisure with children confined at home all day.
Participants were asked how many hours they worked, how much free time, and how much personal space they had.
The authors came to this conclusion: “An increase in leisure time was associated with greater creativity change.”
Openness is defined by Psychology today:
“Openness to experience, or simply openness, is a fundamental personality trait that indicates receptivity to new ideas and new experiences.”
The study examined 11 questions regarding transparency and found that this property also showed a correlation with the SCC results. However, as Dr. Emmanuelle Volletold co-author of the study Medical news today:
“Openness actually correlated with our subjective creativity change score, indicating that openness played a role in the way people thought their creativity changed during the lockdown. It also correlated with the assessed creativity of the activities the participants performed during this period.”
“It didn’t really draw a line, though [between being creative or not] because even after correcting for openness, our creativity change score was still positive and correlated correspondingly with leisure and affective factors. In other words, leisure and affective factors were found related to subjective creativity changes “in addition to” openness, “he said.