The effect of interruptions and breaks on insight and impasses : do you need a break right now?

F. Beeftink, W. Eerde, van, C.G. Rutte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)
2 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Some time away from a problem, or incubation time, is found to be beneficial to creative problem solving. But are interruptions as equally helpful as breaks? An experiment was conducted to gain more insight into the differences between imposed and self-initiated breaks, and their effects on creativity, specifically on impasses and insights. There were three experimental conditions, (a) a continuous condition, in which participants were not allowed to switch back and forth between tasks, (b) an interruption condition, in which participants had to switch tasks at a predetermined moment, and (c) a break condition, in which participants could switch tasks at their own discretion. Results showed that taking breaks at moments chosen at one's own discretion led to solving more insight problems and reaching fewer impasses than at moments that were chosen by others. Furthermore, compared to working continuously, interruptions led to fewer impasses, but not to solving more insight problems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)358-364
Number of pages7
JournalCreativity Research Journal
Volume20
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The effect of interruptions and breaks on insight and impasses : do you need a break right now?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this