Recreational travel may increase creativity by relieving workers from stress, providing diversifying experiences and increasing positive emotions. Consequently, vacations may boost creativity, apparent in a greater variety (flexibility) and originality of ideas after work resumption.
In our longitudinal field study, creativity (measured by Guilford's Alternative Uses Task; independently scored by three raters) was assessed in 46 workers before and after vacation. Potential precursors for creativity changes (i.e. work load, vacation hassles, vacation destination and positive affect) were also explored.
Cognitive flexibility increased whereas originality remained the same after vacation. None of the precursors explained variance in creativity changes.
Although vacations seem to increase chances on creative insights by raising the amount of available cognitive elements (flexibility), they do not necessarily lead to higher levels of originality (uncommon, remote and clever ideas). Research in larger samples is required to further explore mechanisms that may explain why travel seems to enhance creativity. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.