n Drawing improves children’s moods by helping to distract
them, find researchers at Brooklyn College and Boston College.
Scientists induced a negative mood in 83 children — 43 who
were ages 6 to 8 and 40 who were ages 10 to 12 — by having
them recall a disappointing episode in their lives. Then, the
youngsters drew either a scene related to the disappointing
episode (the venting condition) or a neutral scene unrelated to
it (the distraction condition). The children rated their moods
both before and after the drawing activity. The researchers
found that the children’s short-term moods improved more in
the distraction condition than in the venting condition. The
researchers also examined whether distraction would have
a stronger effect for younger than older children, given that
younger kids report that they enjoy drawing more and see
themselves as drawing more competently than older children.
However, the “distraction” effect applied equally to both
younger and older children, the team found (Cognition and
Emotion, April 2013).
n Happiness and creativity go hand in hand, find researchers
at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. The scientists
randomly sampled the feelings and actions of 79 young adults
over a week using automated cellphone surveys. People reported
doing something creative around 20 percent of the time, and
those who generally reported feeling happy and active were
much more likely to be doing something creative in a given
moment, such as making up their own recipes, writing, playing
music or drawing. In addition, those who scored higher in
openness to experience were much more likely to spend time
on creative activities than others. The findings support a theory
that everyday creative behavior is both a cause and an effect of
positive psychological processes, according to the researchers
(Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, online, Feb. 10).
n Whether you brood or actively reflect helps determine
whether you slump into depression or jump into creativity,
finds a study led by a Georgia Institute of Technology scientist.
In testing 244 college students, researchers examined how two
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