Home Men's Health New research reveals air high quality impacts creativeness and inventiveness

New research reveals air high quality impacts creativeness and inventiveness

New research reveals air high quality impacts creativeness and inventiveness


Air high quality within the workplace might have an effect on our stage of creativity at work, scientists at Nanyang Technological College, Singapore (NTU Singapore) have discovered.

Working with the worldwide air filter producer Camfil on a shared analysis undertaking, the NTU Singapore scientists present in a research that prime ranges of unstable natural compounds – gases launched from merchandise corresponding to detergents, pesticides, perfumes, aerosol sprays and paint – affected the research individuals’ creativity once they had been requested to construct 3D fashions with LEGO bricks.

Utilizing a statistical evaluation, the NTU staff estimated that decreasing complete unstable natural compounds (TVOC) by 72 per cent might enhance a scholar’s artistic potential by 12 per cent.

TVOC is an indicator that refers back to the quantity of unstable natural compounds within the air. Indoor VOCs are emitted from inside ornament sources corresponding to paints and carpets and family merchandise corresponding to detergents and air fresheners.

This research, performed on the NTU Sensible Campus, is a part of a partnership between the College and Camfil to analyze the influence of indoor air high quality on the cognitive efficiency of adults, take a look at varied air filter applied sciences in tropical climate situations, and ship modern clear air options mixed with optimised power effectivity.

The findings detailed within the research, revealed in Scientific Experiences in September, make clear the significance of indoor air high quality on our artistic cognition, mentioned the analysis staff led by Assistant Professor Ng Bing Feng and Affiliate Professor Wan Man Pun, Cluster Administrators for Sensible & Sustainable Constructing Applied sciences on the Vitality Analysis Institute @ NTU (ERI@N).

Asst Prof Ng mentioned: “Whereas most individuals would appropriately affiliate indoor air high quality with results on the lungs, particularly since we simply emerged from a pandemic, our research reveals that it might additionally have an effect on the thoughts and inventive cognition, or the flexibility to make use of data in an unconventional means. Our findings counsel that comparatively low TVOC ranges, even when nicely inside the accepted threshold, might influence a person’s artistic potential.

This might have severe penalties for industries that depend on creativity for the majority of their work. For example, artists usually use paints and thinners that launch excessive ranges of unstable natural compounds and will not know they want sufficient air flow to clear them from their office. The findings additionally level to how making minor changes within the workplace, corresponding to decreasing the usage of aroma diffusers or making certain sufficient air flow, might positively influence workers and their productiveness.”

Affiliate Professor Wan Man Pun, Cluster Director for Sensible & Sustainable Constructing Applied sciences on the Vitality Analysis Institute

The research additionally aligns with the Well being & Society and Mind & Studying analysis clusters below the analysis pillar of NTU 2025, the College’s five-year strategic plan.

The opposite scientists on the analysis staff had been NTU PhD graduate Dr Shmitha Arikrishnan, former NTU senior analysis fellow Dr Adam Charles Robert, who’s at present a postdoctoral researcher at Singapore-ETH Centre, and NTU graduate Lau Wee Siang.

Assessing creativity by means of LEGO 3D fashions

To quantifiably assess artistic potential on this research, the NTU staff developed the Severe Brick Play technique, which is essentially tailored from the LEGO Severe Play framework. This instrument entails expressing ideas and concepts utilizing 3D fashions constructed with LEGO bricks.

A typical LEGO Severe Play session entails a facilitator who introduces a problem, to which individuals reply by constructing a mannequin utilizing LEGO bricks. Members then focus on their fashions and replicate on the constructing course of, prompted by the facilitator.

Within the Severe Brick Play technique designed by the NTU staff, individuals don’t focus on their fashions and share their reflections in a gaggle. As a substitute, they supply written descriptions of their LEGO fashions. These written descriptions and LEGO fashions are then scored by a panel of judges for creativity.

Asst Prof Ng defined: “Whereas the LEGO Severe Play framework has been utilized in varied settings to unleash artistic considering and has even been used to assist dementia sufferers, it doesn’t have a quantitative evaluation part and can’t systematically assess creativity. For this reason we added a part to attain individuals on their creativity.

The scoring tips for the individuals’ LEGO fashions had been developed based mostly on the Artistic Product Evaluation Matrix mannequin, which is used to grade creativity and has been validated in earlier research, he added.

The NTU researchers examined the scoring tips to measure the diploma of consistency among the many totally different judges once they independently assessed the LEGO fashions, and concluded that the scoring tips supplied had been dependable.

The researchers additionally examined the Severe Brick Play technique’s skill to measure what it was designed for by means of statistical analyses and located that the strategy was in a position to cowl the important thing elements of the Various Makes use of Process, a well known instrument that assesses creativity. Particularly, it assesses divergent considering, a thought course of used to generate artistic concepts by exploring many attainable options.

The researchers mentioned that the Severe Brick Play technique additional assesses one other thought course of known as convergent considering, which focuses on developing with a single, well-established reply to an issue.

“Divergent and convergent considering are considered the central elements of creativity, however most current instruments are designed round divergent considering. Our Severe Brick Play technique provides worth by additionally masking the side of convergent considering,” mentioned Asst Prof Ng.

How the research was carried out

Over six weeks, the researchers gathered knowledge from a pattern dimension of 87 undergraduate and postgraduate college students in a managed surroundings simulating an indoor workspace. Each week throughout three 40-minute classes, the research individuals learn a abstract of a world concern – corresponding to local weather change, psychological well being, and poverty – after which provided an answer by constructing a 3D mannequin utilizing LEGO bricks. The individuals had been then requested to present a written description and rationalization for his or her fashions.

In every session, researchers diverse the air high quality of the workspace utilizing totally different combos of air filters contributed by Camfil. This diverse the extent of pollution within the air, together with carbon dioxide, PM2.5 (air pollution lower than 2.5 micrometres in diameter), and complete unstable natural compounds (TVOC).

The individuals’ LEGO fashions and descriptions had been then graded by seven randomly chosen adults, who had been educated to familiarise themselves with the scoring tips based mostly on:

  • Originality: whether or not the answer is common or uncommon,
  • Fluency: the extent of elaboration within the description of the answer, and
  • Construct: how subtle, advanced, or aesthetic the answer is.

Hyperlink between TVOC ranges and creativity

The NTU staff’s statistical evaluation of the individuals’ common scores and indoor air high quality knowledge gathered from 18 classes revealed that individuals tended to show in artistic options with decrease scores – an indicator of decrease artistic potential – when the workspace had greater TVOC ranges.

Utilizing a statistical mannequin, the staff calculated that decreasing TVOC from a suitable threshold of 1,000 components per billion to 281 components per billion – or a 72 per cent discount in TVOC ranges – led to a 12 per cent enhance in artistic potential within the research cohort.

Much less vital relationships had been discovered between PM2.5 and creativity in addition to carbon dioxide ranges and creativity.

Asst Prof Ng mentioned: “The outcomes from this research point out that creativity ranges might be linked to the focus of pollution in a room. Bettering the air high quality may very well be a cost-effective resolution to enhance occupants’ creativity.”

Having uncovered a hyperlink between TVOC ranges and creativity, the analysis staff is now learning how TVOC and different indoor air pollution have an effect on cognitive processes by measuring individuals’ mind exercise.


Journal reference:

Arikrishnan, S., et al. (2023). Experimental research on the influence of indoor air high quality on creativity by Severe Brick Play technique. Scientific Experiences. doi.org/10.1038/s41598-023-42355-z.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here