Enhancing positive affect and divergent thinking abilities: Play some music and dance
by Maxine Campion & Liat Levita
Published online: 15 Oct 2013, The Journal of Positive Psychology
This study compares the effect of dance on affect and cognition to music or exercise, in a young, non-clinical population. Participants were asked to complete tests of mood and creativity before and after spending 5 min either listening to music, dancing, cycling or sitting quietly. Both dancing and passively listening to music enhanced positive affect, decreased negative affect and reduced feelings of fatigue. Cycling and sitting quietly had no effect on positive mood or feelings of fatigue. Moreover, dancing and passively listening to music had dissociable effects on different aspects of creativity, with greater change in positive affect being associated with greater enhancement in measures of verbal and non-verbal creativity, respectively. We suggest that these findings support the use of either short duration dancing or passively listening to music as potentially powerful tools in enhancing emotional well-being and different aspects of divergent thinking in non-clinical settings.