Can Watching a Comedy Film Make You More Creative?

By Brad Bell

You are having writer’s block.  You are staring at your computer screen and you cannot think of what to write next.  You have been working on a novel for more than two years, and now it is quite frustrating that you cannot complete the last several pages of the novel.  You decide to view a comedy film.  The movie makes you laugh a great deal.  It makes you feel better.  You go back to your computer.  You are finding that it is much easier to write, and you feel you are very creative in what you write.  You are able to finish the novel in several hours.  Did the comedy film make you think more creatively?

 In the first two experiments, Isen, Daubman, and Nowicki (1987) found that people who watched a comedy film were more likely to solve a problem requiring a creative solution than people who watched a neutral film.  Their fourth experiment involved a comedy film and the Remote Associates Test.  The mean number of items correct on this test was higher for people who watched a comedy film than for people who did not watch a comedy film. (1)  The hypothesis was that positive emotion would foster creativity.  Thus, the comedy film may have fostered creative thinking because it increased positive emotion.

Implications for Fostering Creativity and How to be Creative

These findings have important implications for fostering creativity and how to be creative.  Before we write a poem, essay, or work on a book it may be good to first view a comedy film.  Moreover, if we are working on a problem at work that requires a creative solution, it may be good to first view a comedy film.  This could increase creative problem solving.


1.  See their article for more findings.  


Isen, A. M., Daubman, K. A., & Nowicki, G. P. (1987).  Positive affect facilitates creative problem solving.  Journal of Personality and Social Psychology52, 1122-1131.

Can Seeing Green Increase Creativity?

By Brad Bell

 One interesting topic concerns the influence or effects of color.  More specifically, it may be interesting to learn about the possible effects of the color green.  One question concerning the psychology of green is whether viewing the color green can increase creativity.

Lichtenfeld, Elliot, Maier, and Pekrun (2012) investigated the influence of viewing the color green on creativity in four experiments.  The findings from the four experiments supported the idea that viewing green can increase creativity on a task. For example, in the third experiment, participants who viewed green were, on the average, judged to be more creative on a task than participants who viewed grey or red.   Moreover, the findings of the third and fourth experiments suggest that the effect of viewing the color green on creativity was not due to mood.  The effect of viewing the color green on the mood measure was not stastisically significant in their third and fourth experiments.

These findings may have important practical implications.  To increase creativity, it may be a good idea to view the color green. For example, one could look out the window at the backyard while writing a story or poem.


Lichtenfeld, S., Elliot, A. J., Maier, M. A., Pekrun, R.  (2012).  Fertile green:  Green facilitates creative performance.  Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 38, 784-797.