From the Lab: The Other Coffee Shop Effect

Yesterday, we saw that being exposed to a moderate amount of ambient noise (~70 dB) can make us more creative, a finding that has been dubbed the “coffee shop effect.” As I found out while researching yesterday’s post, however, there’s more than one phenomenon called the “coffee shop effect.”

The phrase “coffee shop effect” has also been used to refer to the finding that we are more creative when there are other people in the room, even if we’re not interacting with them. (This is an extension of Eileen Chou and Loran Nordgren’s research showing that we are more willing to take risks in the presence of others, because we feel safer that way.)

Depending on how you feel about coffee shops, this can be yet another good excuse to go to one, or it can simply be added to the list of benefits of group work, described in the group chapter of The Science of Speaking.


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