Color Me Creative: Study Says Green Sparks Inventiveness

Color Me Creative: Study Says Green Sparks Creativity

Writer’s block? In a static slump? Think green.

Yup, Kermit's favorite color may actually get our creative juices flowing, according to a recent study.

The study, published in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, asked 69 men and women to take two minutes to come up with as many uses for a tin can as they could. Before the time started, half the group was shown a white rectangle, and the other half a green one. After the two minutes, a trained coder rated each idea for its creativity. The findings? Participants who saw green before the test came up with the more interesting, imaginative answers.

The study volunteers were also presented with other creativity challenges, where a flash of green was pitted against flashes of red, blue or grey. “The green effect,” as the German researchers dubbed it, again produced the most creative responses.

Why is our creativity sparked by green? Study author Dr. Stephanie Lichtenfeld, an assistant professor of psychology at Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich, told MSNBC that the reason behind the creativity hike may be that green is a signal of growth (both physical and psychological). Lichtenfeld says, "Green may serve as a cue that evokes the motivation to strive for improvement and task mastery, which in turn may facilitate growth."

But the findings aren't a green light to frantically start painting your whole house shades of emerald and lime. The color's power is subtle, Lichtendfeld told MSNBC, and exactly how effective it is remains inconclusive.

Still tempted to give it a try? Look for colors similar to a pine tree, as the green used in the experiment was similar to the color we see in nature.

If green sparks our creative side, how do other colors affect us? We took a look at the data and also spoke to Linda Holt, color expert and interior designer, for her best color insight. Scroll through the slideshow to discover how you could be subconsciously influenced by the hues around you. How do different colors make you feel?


Color Me Creative