Is noise always bad? exploring the effects of ambient noise on creative cognition

Ravi Mehta, Rui(Juliet) Zhu, Amar Cheema

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This paper examines how ambient noise, an important environmental variable, can affect creativity. Results from five experiments demonstrate that a moderate (70 dB) versus low (50 dB) level of ambient noise enhances performance on creative tasks and increases the buying likelihood of innovative products. A high level of noise (85 dB), on the other hand, hurts creativity. Process measures reveal that a moderate (vs. low) level of noise increases processing difficulty, inducing a higher construal level and thus promoting abstract processing, which subsequently leads to higher creativity. A high level of noise, however, reduces the extent of information processing and thus impairs creativity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)784-799
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Consumer Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing

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