Turns Out, Those Who Like Being Alone Can Be More Creative

Why taking time for solitude benefits you and your brain.

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Turns Out, Those Who Like Being Alone Can Be More Creative
Image credit: Paul Bradbury | Getty Images
Reporting Intern
2 min read

Introverts, rejoice! New research from the University of Buffalo has found that some people who prefer to be alone have a higher tendency to be more creative.

Related: Steve Jobs Systematically Cultivated His Creativity. You Can, Too

While unsociability has been viewed as a cause for concern in the past -- with anxious parents pushing shy children into playdates and afterschool programs -- this new research sheds new light on the behavior, and why it should be reinterpreted.

“We have to understand why someone is withdrawing to understand the associated risks and benefits,” says Julie Bowker, an associate professor in UB’s department of psychology. Bowker highlights that the consequences of social withdrawal aren’t black and white, but dependent on underlying motivations.

According to the study, there are three reasons people withdraw: out of fear or anxiety, which is associated with shyness; those that are considered socially avoidant because they dislike social interaction; and finally, those who withdraw due to non-fearful preferences for solitude. This last group is called "unsociable," because they enjoy spending time alone.

Bowker had 295 participants report on their motivations to withdraw, as well as score themselves on creativity, anxiety sensitivity, depressive symptoms, aggression and other factors that influence their behaviors and desires. She found that those who withdrew due to unsociability had higher tendencies toward creativity.

So if you find yourself canceling Friday night plans to read a good book or take a walk, you may just be gathering your creative juices.

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