Be merry and solve problems

Researchers at Northwestern University found that people were more likely to solve word puzzles with sudden insight when they were amused, having just seen a short comedy routine by Robin Williams. Not so when they’d seen a scary or boring video beforehand. I kid you not.

Findings in a study published last year by researchers at the University of Toronto, seem to fit with dozens of experiments linking positive moods to better creative problem-solving.

I will leave it to the experts of the NY Times to tell you why. As far as I am concerned, I am not buying. I have seen enough depressed mathematicians in my lifetime, precisely because they couldn’t solve their “puzzles”.

What’s the next step? Evaluating departments by probing their moods, or assessing research grants by requesting reference letters from the applicant’s psychologist?

A new category for NSERC’s binning system is born!

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