Falling in love boosts creativity

September 29, 2009

loveResearchers at the University of Amsterdam have demonstrated that thinking about love gives a boost to conceptual innovators.

They found that thoughts of love, but not thoughts of sex, help people think more “globally,” making it easier to come up with new ideas.

As Scientific American reports:

The clever experiments demonstrated that love makes us think differently in that it triggers global processing, which in turn promotes creative thinking and interferes with analytic thinking.

Thinking about sex, however, has the opposite effect: it triggers local processing, which in turn promotes analytic thinking and interferes with creativity.

Why does love make us think more globally? The researchers suggest that romantic love induces a long-term perspective, whereas sexual desire induces a short-term perspective.

This is because love typically entails wishes and goals of prolonged attachment with a person, whereas sexual desire is typically focused on engaging in sexual activities in the “here and now”.

Does thinking about sex give a boost to experimental innovators? Perhaps, though the researchers didn’t tackle that subject.