06/21/2012 10:54 EDT

Working In Public: How Coffee Shops Inspire Creativity


All those Macs you see upon entering any given coffee shop in North America aren't just helping the place look cooler -- they're also potentially generating more creative work than other offices.

A study by Ravi Mehta at the University of Illinois shows that a moderate level of noise in the environment can help with creativity, the Atlantic reports.

“An increased level of distraction makes you think ‘out-of-the-box’ – what we call abstract thinking or abstract processing, which is a hallmark of increased creativity,” Prof. Mehta wrote in the paper.

The researchers used what they called 'multi-talkers,' as opposed to just background noise (like a radio or television) to better assess real world scenarios. They found that while a noise level of 70 decibels (similar to normal street sounds) was optimal, anything that went above created a distraction for workers.

Other suggestions to inspire creativity include tips like turning off computers and phones, but for those who must work using these tools, the coffee shop scenario only portends good news.

SEE: Check out these alternative creative spaces, via Rana Florida:

Different Creative Spaces