An experiment in writing: the ambient noise of cafes
Which means that I was interested when research on the effect of ambient noise on productivity and creativity, published in the Journal of Consumer Research, was discussed and publicised online (e.g., ‘Coffee shop buzz is good for your creativity‘ by Melanie Pinolla, 12 June).
But I live in the sticks, so can’t always get to a café. Which sent me wondering: would it work if I replicated the sounds at home.
It seems there are several sources of ambient café noise online. Most of them I found unpromising because there was too much of a hubbub. Coffitivity, for example.
But then I found Soundrown, which seemed about right.
So I’ve been experimented, writing with Soundrown playing in the background.
The result? Pretty disastrous. Sitting in the office trying to write whilst playing the noise of a café in the background just makes you feel a prat.
This suggests the research is flawed – it is not sound on its own, but sound in relation to context, that matters most.
Since then I’ve been experimenting with other backgrounds, the most successful of which has been Classical Music for the Reader. No doubt it’s pretty philistine to yank movements from great works by such contrasting talents as Bach, Schubert, Liszt, etc., stick them together and use them as wallpaper music (please don’t tell anyone I’ve done so).
But it seems to work.