Happy extroverts 'more creative'
Published 03/08/2010 | 11:57
Outgoing people in a good mood are significantly more creative than people who keep themselves to themselves, according to a new study.
University of Portsmouth psychologist Lorenzo Stafford discovered that extrovert people in a good mood are the most creative thinkers because they have more of the "happiness chemical" dopamine.
Introverts are no more creative whether they are in a good or neutral mood, the study found.
Dr Stafford said his results showed personality and mood play a vital role in creativity.
Extroverts are likely to be more successful because a higher than average level of the chemical floods the brain at even higher doses when a person is in a good mood, according to Dr Stafford.
"The more outgoing a person is, the more active their dopamine system is and a positive mood increases dopamine activity even further in many parts of the brain," he explained.
"It's effectively a combination of these two things I would suggest leads to greater activity in certain areas of the brain controlling mental ability. This is interesting in itself because it demonstrates that it is the combination of the extrovert personality-type in a positive mood which encourages more creative performance, and not simply positive mood alone."
Dopamine occurs naturally in the brain and affects a range of behaviour including mood, sleep, reward, learning and movement. Dr Stafford's research was published recently in the journal Personality and Individual Differences.
He said: "This is the first study to investigate how personality type and positive mood affect the brain's ability to carry out mental - especially creative - tasks and the results are fascinating. Previous studies have shown that people in a good mood perform better overall at creativity tasks but finding that character type also influences creativity has added a whole new dimension."
Eighty-six people took part in the study ranging in age from 18 to 53 years by completing a questionnaire to determine their personality-type. They then listened to different types of music to put them into a good or neutral mood, which was then analysed.