This research sought to replicate and extend work suggesting that coloring can reduce anxiety, asking whether coloring can improve cognitive performance. In two experiments undergraduates (N = 47; N = 52) colored and participated in a control condition. Subjective and performance measures of mood and mindfulness were included: an implicit mood test (Experiment 1) and a selective attention task (Experiment 2) along with a divergent thinking test. In both experiments coloring significantly reduced anxiety and increased mindfulness compared with control and baseline scores. Following coloring participants scored significantly lower on implicit fear, than the control condition, and significantly higher on selective attention and original ideation. Coloring might not only reduce anxiety, but also improve mindful attention and creative cognition.
Holt, N. J., Furbert, L., & Sweetingham, E. (2019). Cognitive and affective benefits of coloring: Two randomized controlled crossover studies. Art Therapy, 36(4), 200-208. https://doi.org/10.1080/07421656.2019.1645498