Test subjects were better able to solve creative problems at sub-optimal times: early in the day for night owls and late evening for morning people.
Via BPS Research Digest:
Are you an evening person? Guess what? Early in the day, when you’re bleary eyed, stumbling about in the fog of sleepiness, you’re probably at your creative peak. In contrast, if you’re a morning person, then for you, the evening is the best time for musing.
How come? Insight-based problem-solving requires a broad, unfocused approach. You’re more likely to achieve that Aha! revelatory moment when your inhibitory brain processes are at their weakest and your thoughts are meandering.
…the students were much more successful at solving the insight problems when the time of testing coincided with their least optimal time of functioning. When larks were tested in the evening and owls were tested in the morning, they achieved an average success rate of 56, 22 and 49 per cent, for the three insight tasks, compared with success rates of 51, 16, and 31 per cent achieved by students tested at their preferred time of day. By contrast, performance on the analytic tasks was unaffected by time of day.
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