What is it about?

Where do you find inspiration? In this study, we report several experiments in which people were asked to write short creative stories in response to different prompts. People reported feeling more inspired when writing in response to an artwork that they found aesthetically appealing (e.g. beautiful or moving) compared to one they did not find appealing, or to prompts of random words. They also wrote more.

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Why is it important?

These results suggest that the brain state of "being moved" by a painting can prime a brain state of "being inspired," possibly because the two are similar states. Our findings also highlight the importance of arts-based interactions in educational and professional settings. Increasing interactions with art and letting students choose to work with materials that they find aesthetically appealing might boost how often they have inspiring ideas.


Many artists know that the work of others is a great source of inspiration. This study helps us understand how this happens from a scientific perspective, and points a way to improve our own creativity.

Edward Vessel
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft zur Forderung der Wissenschaften

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Inspired by art: Higher aesthetic appeal elicits increased felt inspiration in a creative writing task., Psychology of Aesthetics Creativity and the Arts, May 2021, American Psychological Association (APA), DOI: 10.1037/aca0000393.
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