It’s a bit of a cliché… the artist’s loft with soaring ceilings as the ideal environment to unleash a masterpiece. But does that type of space really have anything to do with creativity?
Spaces with tall ceilings certainly seem more inspirational, right? That’s why it’s the second thing your real estate agent points out (right after “Look how big it is!”), and why you might feel a sense of elevated spirituality in a cathedral.
Turns out there may be something to this.
A study (PDF) seems to have confirmed that higher ceilings can, in fact, help with creative thinking. Essentially, expansive spaces prompt higher levels of big-picture abstract thinking, while confined areas lead to more granular, detail-oriented thinking.
Here’s what Rui Zhu, co-author of the study, has to say:
When a person is in a high-ceiling environment, they are able to process information in a more abstract, creative fashion. Those inside a room with relatively lower ceilings will process in a much more concrete, detail-oriented fashion.
So according to these findings, you want a bit more “head room” for creative thinking. But when it comes to action (and those devilish details), a confined space might help you focus.
What do you think? In your experience, do high ceilings prompt creative thinking?