Psychological Research

, Volume 79, Issue 5, pp 709–714 | Cite as

Food for creativity: tyrosine promotes deep thinking

  • Lorenza S. ColzatoEmail author
  • Annelies M. de Haan
  • Bernhard Hommel
Original Article


Anecdotal evidence suggests that creative people sometimes use food to overcome mental blocks and lack of inspiration, but empirical support for this possibility is still lacking. In this study, we investigated whether creativity in convergent- and divergent-thinking tasks is promoted by the food supplement l-Tyrosine (TYR)—a biochemical precursor of dopamine, which is assumed to drive cognitive control and creativity. We found no evidence for an impact of TYR on divergent thinking (“brainstorming”) but it did promote convergent (“deep”) thinking. As convergent thinking arguably requires more cognitive top-down control, this finding suggests that TYR can facilitate control-hungry creative operations. Hence, the food we eat may affect the way we think.


Cognitive Control Divergent Thinking Creativity Task Human Creativity Convergent Thinking 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The research of L.S. Colzato is supported by a Vidi grant (#452-12-001) of the NWO (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research). We thank our bachelor students, in particular Bonny Roos, for their enthusiasm and invaluable assistance in recruiting and testing the participants of this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lorenza S. Colzato
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Annelies M. de Haan
    • 1
  • Bernhard Hommel
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Psychological Research and Leiden Institute for Brain and CognitionLeiden UniversityLeidenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Cognitive Psychology Unit, Institute for Psychological ResearchLeiden UniversityLeidenThe Netherlands

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