Feeling a bit lost for ideas with a super fun brainstorming session looming? You might want to make time to grab a cup of tea.
A new study suggests that drinking a cup of tea can spark an instant boost in creativity by putting people in a good mood.
Researchers from Peking University monitored 50 students (yep, that’s a tiny sample size. Don’t worry, we’ll get on to that soon), giving half a cup of black tea to drink, and the other half a glass of water, before asking them to complete two different tests.
The first test required the participants to create an ‘attractive and creative’ design using building blocks, and in the second test, they had to come up with a name for a new ramen restaurant.
Their results were judged by other students (who weren’t participating in the study) for creativity and design, and marked on a scale by researchers.
In the building block test, those who drank tea scored 6.54 points, while those who drank water scored 6.03 points. In the name test, the tea drinkers scored 4.11 against water drinkers’ average score of 3.78.
Now, that’s not a massive difference. But researchers also found that those who drank tea also came up with more ideas around each theme, indicating that tea could boost divergent thinking.
Researchers reckon this is thanks to caffeine and theanine in tea, which can have beneficial affects on attention, but also believe it’s down to tea’s mood-boosting properties.
Sipping a cup of tea makes us happier, which in turn makes us more creative.
The report said: ‘This work contributes to understanding the function of tea on creativity and offers a new way to investigate the relationship between food and beverage consumption and the improvement of human cognition.
Two biological ingredients, caffeine and theanine, have beneficial effects on attention, which is an indispensable part of cognitive function.
‘But the amount of tea ingredients our participants absorbed was relatively small. Also, theanine facilitates long-term sustained attentional processing rather than short-term moment-to-moment attentional processing.’
As we mentioned, the sample size of the study is pretty tiny, and researchers didn’t test other caffeine-based drinks to clarify why tea might have a benefit on our creativity.
But considering a cup of tea a day could also reduce your risk of glaucoma, and it’s just generally enjoyable to have a cuppa, we don’t see any harm in giving the theory a go.
No one needs an excuse to drink tea, but if the possibility that it could make us more creative gives you a nudge to get up and pop on the kettle, that’s no bad thing.