Creativity results from the inner attitude - drugs have no positive influence

 (Image: Pixabay CC0)
(Image: Pixabay CC0)

A study shows: Diversity of methods leads to improvement of creative cognitive abilities There are many ways to positively influence and promote creative thinking. Scientists at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (HU), Essex University in the UK, and the University of Potsdam have conducted a study to find out how creativity can be improved.

The authors analyzed 84 international studies, mainly from the field of psychology from 2000 to 2021, which attempted to improve creativity using various methods. Of twelve methods identified, extensive, time-intensive trainings were particularly effective. Over a period of several weeks, they taught the concept of creativity as well as a range of methods, such as association exercises or brainwriting, to apply in different situations. In addition, meditation, cultural exposure through stays abroad and free association techniques in particular provide a comparable increase - and that with comparatively little effort. The use of drugs such as marijuana, the drug Adderall or alcohol has, contrary to the assumption of many, no positive influence on creative performance.

There are many ways to positively influence and promote creative thinking. Creativity is not a skill to be learned and then applied. Creativity results much more from the attitudes, emotions and expectations a person has at the moment they are faced with a creative challenge," explains lead author and creativity expert Jennifer Haase. This view opens up some possibilities for subtly but sustainably establishing creativity in everyday life or at work.

It is particularly interesting and also encouraging that drugs have no effect on creativity, given their side effects. Interestingly, however, people who have used drugs believe that they are more creative, even though this is not actually the case. This emphasizes that we cannot rely on people’s self-assessments, but need objective tests of creativity," adds co-author Dr. Paul Hanel.

In addition to Jennifer Haase from the Institute of Computer Science at HU, Dr. Paul Hanel from the Institute of Psychology at the University of Essex in the UK and Norbert Gronau from the Institute of Information Systems at the University of Potsdam were also involved in the study.

Creative thinking is the basis of all progress, innovation and also of utmost importance for the well-being in everyday life. Particularly through the increased use of artificial intelligence, standardizable activities are being automated and thus taken out of the sphere of activity of us humans. Creative thinking is - still - an increasingly human competence, which is all the more important due to digitalization.


Haase, J., & Hanel, P. H. P., & Gronau, N. (2023). Creativity enhancement methods for adults: A meta-analysis. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts.