Clean Desk Promotes Conventionality | Messy Desk – Fosters Creativity

Kathleen Vohs, Professor of Marketing and
Land O’ Lakes Professor of Excellence in Marketing
Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota What are the main findings of the study?

Answer: We found that being in a tidy environment led people toward doing what’s expected of them or what’s considered the right thing to do — so, for instance, people in a tidy room donated more money to charity and chose healthy over unhealthy snacks. Being in a messy room, though, made people more creative. Were any of the findings unexpected?

Answer: Yes! We rather surprised to get the creativity findings — a lot of people in architecture and other disciplines believe that clean, open spaces produce better creativity, so this was news. What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Answer: That different kinds of environments can shift the mind toward different perspectives. There is a lot that can be done with this in a clinical setting – I would bet, for instance, that a messy environment would lead people to fess up to bad behaviors but a tidy one might make them more agreeable to taking up a new regimen.


Physical Order Produces Healthy Choices, Generosity, and Conventionality, Whereas Disorder Produces Creativity


Last Updated on August 8, 2013 by Marie Benz MD FAAD