Sweet ideas: How the sensory experience of sweetness impacts creativity

Lidan Xu, Ravi Mehta, Jo Andrea Hoegg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The importance of creativity to organizations is significant, ergo, scholars have begun to investigate how sensory elements in the workplace might impact creative performance. Our research examines effects of the sensory experience of taste, specifically sweetness, on creativity. Using a range of real taste tests and imagination tasks, we demonstrate that sweet taste facilitates creative performance. We argue that this is because sweet taste, as a positive implicit affective cue, increases cognitive flexibility and creativity independent of the elicitation of positive emotions. However, when the positive associations of sweet taste are externally overridden, such as when health risks are made salient, the positive impact of sweet taste on creativity is attenuated. We further demonstrate that sensory experience of sweetness increases performance on related tasks that require cognitive flexibility, but does not increase performance on non-creative tasks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104169
JournalOrganizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
StatePublished - Sep 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Cognitive flexibility
  • Creativity
  • Sensory experience
  • Sweetness
  • Taste

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


Dive into the research topics of 'Sweet ideas: How the sensory experience of sweetness impacts creativity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this