Lively and in-depth discussions of city news, politics, science, entertainment, the arts, and more.
Hosted by Larry Mantle
Airs Weekdays 10 am - 12 pm

How interruptions wreak havoc on creativity

Getty Images/Getty Images

Listen to story

Download this story 3MB

We all know that interruptions and distractions can make you less productive, but how do they affect creativity?

A new study out of George Mason University shows that interruptions during creative work are a bigger problem than previously thought. Researchers asked 54 college students to write short, SAT-style essays. Some students were allowed to finish their essay without being interrupted, others were interrupted during the outline stage and the rest during writing.

The study found that those who were interrupted wrote shorter and lower quality essays than those who were allowed to finish uninterrupted. The findings suggest that even generations who grew up with texting and chat as a main mode of communication aren’t immune to the effects of interruptions.

How do we avoid letting these distractions get the best of us? What about those of us who use Twitter, Facebook and chat for work? How do we avoid or lessen the impact of these distractors? What are some listeners' observations of the worst creative work interrupters? What’s the difference between multitasking and interruptions?


Cyrus Foroughi, doctoral student at George Mason University and co-author of the study