Food for creativity: tyrosine promotes deep thinking

Psychol Res. 2015 Sep;79(5):709-14. doi: 10.1007/s00426-014-0610-4. Epub 2014 Sep 26.


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.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Creativity*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Thinking / drug effects*
  • Tyrosine / pharmacology*
  • Young Adult


  • Tyrosine