If you’re looking for a clap-back rooted in science for the next time someone makes a comment (or even ventures a raised eyebrow) about your desk at work, this new study is here to help.
A study from the University of Minnesota published in Psychological Science alleges that having a messy desk inspires more creative, out-of-the box ideas, while tidy desks encourage conventionality and doing what is expected of you.
The study divided participants into two rooms, one tidy and the other with papers strewn about, emulating many of our (apparently genius) selves. Then, researchers asked them to brainstorm new uses for ping-pong balls, Refinery29 reports.
While both groups came up with the same number of ideas, impartial judges found the people with chaotic desks came up with much more unusual and creative ideas.
(I am dying to know what these genius new uses ping-pong ball were.)
“Disorderly environments seem to inspire breaking free of tradition, which can produce fresh insights,” Kathleen Vohs, the conductor of the study, said. “Orderly environments, in contrast, encourage convention and playing it safe.”
There you have it — you’re not a slob, you’re not lazy. You’re creative.