If you're in a creative slump, scientists suggest that you take a walk.
People generate more creative ideas when they walk than when they sit, according to new research. "Everyone always says going on a walk gives you new ideas," said lead author Marily Oppezzo, a professor of psychology at Santa Clara University, "but nobody had ever proved it before."
Oppezzo got inspiration for the work while taking a stroll as a graduate student with her thesis adviser, Stanford University education professor Daniel Schwartz.
Oppezzo recruited 176 people and gave them various verbal tests. Some volunteers were asked to come up with alternative uses for a common item, like a button. To Oppezzo, a creative response was one that was both appropriate (a button could serve as a tiny strainer, but wouldn't work as a lightbulb) and original, meaning no one else in the study had said it.
Volunteers were asked to complete the creativity test twice - first while sitting at a desk for four minutes, and then while walking on a treadmill for the same amount of time. Researchers found that 81 percent of participants improved their creative output when walking.