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Spending Time Alone Helps With Creativity

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Spending some time alone occasionally is not a bad thing, and may even have excellent benefits, a new study has found.

Researchers from the University of Buffalo discovered that not socializing from time to time can lead to a surge in creativity, Newsweek reports. In a small study, a psychologist examined the behaviors of some 300 people who self-reported on certain aspects, such as why they sought to distance themselves from others, their creativity characteristics and symptoms of depression, among other things.

While past research has frequently associated unsociability with negative results, so this is the first study to associate social withdrawal with creativity, the researchers said.

Julie Bowker, lead author of the study and an associate psychology professor at the University of Buffalo, stated, “Over the years, unsociability has been characterized as a relatively benign form of social withdrawal.  But, with the new findings linking it to creativity, we think unsociability may be better characterized as a potentially beneficial form of social withdrawal.”

Bowker said that understanding why someone chooses social isolation is a primary factor in identifying potential risks that may accompany this behavior. She added,

Motivation matters.

In general, people look at unsociability in a negative light. “When people think about the costs associated with social withdrawal, often times they adopt a developmental perspective. During childhood and adolescence, the idea is that if you’re removing yourself too much from your peers, then you’re missing out on positive interactions like receiving social support, developing social skills and other benefits of interacting with your peers.”

Bowker said, “This may be why there has been such an emphasis on the negative effects of avoiding and withdrawing from peers.”

But spending too much time alone is not always a good thing. It may even lead to a shorter life span, a study in the journal Science found. Scientists discovered that seniors who had a less active social life were more likely to die than those who had many friends and acquaintances.

The study was published in Personality and Individual Differences.

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