טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
M.Sc Thesis
M.Sc StudentTal-Bilgory Daria
SubjectTo Rest or Not to Rest, That is the Question: the Effect of
Breaks from the Creative Task on Creative
Performance
DepartmentDepartment of Industrial Engineering and Management
Supervisor Professor Emeritus Miriam Erez
Full Thesis textFull thesis text - English Version


Abstract

The following research examines the impact of different types of breaks during creative performance on the creative outcome, with an attempt to confront two competing theories - one theory advocates taking a restful break, and the other advocates working on another demanding task during the break. For this purpose, 4 conditions were examined: a meditative yoga break designed to generate a state of relaxation, a regular break (do as you wish), a contemplative break, and a demanding task (math exercises) break. 123 participants randomly divided into 4 conditions, worked on a creative task of generating creative ideas, then were told to take a break, and after the break they continued to work on the same creative task. Results showed that ideas generated in the Regular Break condition were significantly more original after the break compared to before it, than ideas under the Math Break condition. With regard to fluency, it decreased significantly after the break both in the Math Break condition (marginally) and in the Regular Break conditions, than in the Yoga Break condition, where the fluency of the ideas remained more or less the same after the break as before it. In addition, in the Math Break condition there was a significant decline in the elaboration of the creative ideas after the break than before it, compared to the Contemplation Break condition, where there was an increase in elaboration after the break than before it. The results suggest that, although there is evidence that incubation occurred in the Math Break condition, as shown by the lexical decision task (LDT), it seems that it is not enough for creativity level to remain stable or even to improve. As opposed to literature on decision making, when it comes to creative performance, taking a break during which one is busy with a different demanding task does not improve the creative performance, and might even hinder it.