A high level of noise may cause a great deal of distraction, causing individuals to process information to a lesser extent and therefore to exhibit lower creativity. A moderate (vs. low) level of noise, however, is expected to distract people without significantly affecting the extent of processing. Further, we reason that such a moderate distraction, which induces processing difficulty, enhances creativity by prompting abstract thinking.
That’s fascinating, and makes a lot of sense as to my work habits. I tend to work either in coffee shops, if I just feel like I need to be around people even if I don’t want to interact with them, or at home with music playing. I don’t do well at all in very noisy environments for probably obvious reasons, but I also cannot work in total silence, either. Just enough ambient sound that I have to go into my internal space a little bit seems the best for my productivity, whereas in a near-silent environment, I’ll go looking for outside distraction.