How stress influences creativity in game-based situations: analysis of stress hormones, negative emotions, and working memory

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Yu-chu Yeh
  • Guey-jen Lai
  • Chun Fu Lin
  • Chung-wei Lin
  • Hua-chun Sun

Colleges, School and Institutes


This study aims to integrate neuroscientific techniques into a behavioral experimental design to investigate how stress stimuli may influence stress hormones and negative emotions, subsequently affecting working memory (WM) and creativity in game-based situations. Ninety-six college students participated in this study, in which a game-based experiment lasting 90 min was employed. The main findings were that (1) the employed stress stimuli influence creativity during gaming through two routes: enhancing creativity through cortisol concentration and WM and decreasing creativity by provoking promotion-focused negative emotions (frustration and anger); and (2) the subjective negative emotions and objective cortisol responses do not consistently predict WM and creativity in game-based situations. Accordingly, appropriate challenges or stressors that help increase the cortisol concentration to an attentional level without provoking a strong sense of promotion-focused negative emotions should be considered when designing games aimed at teaching creativity.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-153
JournalComputers & Education
Early online date5 Oct 2014
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2015


  • Improving classroom teaching, Interactive learning environments, Interdisciplinary projects, Post-secondary education, Teaching/learning strategies