Posts for Tag: coffitivity

Against the Open Office

This from a New Yorker piece arguing against open offices is something that seems to go against pro-Coffitivity arguments.

But the most problematic aspect of the open office may be physical rather than psychological: simple noise. In laboratory settings, noise has been repeatedly tied to reduced cognitive performance. The psychologist Nick Perham, who studies the effect of sound on how we think, has found that office commotion impairs workers’ ability to recall information, and even to do basic arithmetic. Listening to music to block out the office intrusion doesn’t help: even that, Perham found, impairs our mental acuity. Exposure to noise in an office may also take a toll on the health of employees.

More on Creativity and Coffee Shops

I treasure this TED talk by Steven Johnson not just for the image of London's oldest coffee house but also for the explanation of the central role of the coffee house in the creative process and the fascinating story of how the coffee house gave us GPS via Sputnik and nuclear submarines. Not only did this talk call up images of James Burke and Connections, it managed to explain much more clearly than the New York Times why I like Coffitivity so much.




Coffitivity is a site that creates the ambient noise of a coffee shop so that users can get a creative buzz on even when they can't stop by for a latte. The New York Times reports that researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that found that a level of ambient noise typical of a bustling coffee shop or a television playing in a living room, about 70 decibels, enhanced performance compared with the relative quiet of 50 decibels. An audio report and a sample at the Times.

I'm giving it a try. You?