I guess this could go in the "Duh" file, but it's still pretty interesting. Plus there are references to both Ben Franklin and Clemson University:
In the UF study, 193 students from an introductory psychology class were divided into two groups to perform a brainstorming task. The participants were asked to write down as many different uses for a knife as they could think of in 15 minutes while seated in cubicles listening to crowd noise played on a stereo system.
One group was told the background noise interfered with concentration and creativity, while the other group was told the noise had no effect. Participants who were given the socially acceptable excuse not to do well - in the form of information from an authority figure that background noise was detrimental to their performance - generated fewer uses for the knife than those who were told the noise probably would not affect their performance, he said.