Creative ability has played a key role in societal advancement. Innovation in every aspect of life depends on creative people and processes. Creativity depends on divergent and convergent thinking processes. Divergent thinking results in variability and originality while convergent thinking enables evaluation of ideas for appropriateness in a given context. Given the importance of creativity for both personal and societal achievements, there have been consistent efforts to stimulate creative ability. But an important environmental factor — blue (i.e., short wavelength) light — has been relatively unexplored to date. Blue light improves a number of cognitive processes (e.g., attention, working memory and sleep) known to influence our creative abilities.
In our study, we investigated the effects of blue light on enhancing creativity in tasks and compare it to the effects of walking, which has been shown to stimulate creative ability. Based on data from 21 participants over 2 weeks, we found that blue light resulted in a 24.3% increase in convergent thinking ability, while walking improved divergent thinking by 18%. These findings show the potential of circadian based interventions for high-level cognitive performance.