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

MedicalResearch.com: 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.

MedicalResearch.com: 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.

MedicalResearch.com: 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.

Citation:

Physical Order Produces Healthy Choices, Generosity, and Conventionality, Whereas Disorder Produces Creativity
http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/publications/journals/psychological_science