Ritter and Ferguson tied enhanced creativity to listening to certain types of music. As the pair detail “The current study experimentally tests whether listening to specific types of music (four classical music excerpts systematically varying on valance [how happy or sad they seemed] and arousal [energy level]), as compared to . . . silence . . . facilitates divergent and convergent creativity. Creativity was higher for participants who listened to ‘happy music’ (i.e., classical music high on arousal and positive mood) while performing the divergent creativity task, than for participants who performed the task in silence. No effect of music was found for convergent creativity.” So, listening to that “happy” music helped people come up with a range of different ideas, but wasn’t as helpful when it came time to narrow those ideas down to a single solution. The “happy” music study participants listened to was the Spring movement of “Seasons” by Vivaldi. The positive, calmer music heard was the Swan from “Carnival of the Animals” by Saint-Saens. The other two musical pieces listened to were “Adagio for Strings, opus 11” by Barber and “The Planets: Mars, Bringer of War” by Holst.
Simone Ritter and Sam Ferguson. 2017. “Happy Creativity: Listening to Happy Music Facilitates Divergent Thinking.” PLoS ONE, http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0182210