Friday, November 4, 2011

Video Games Lead to Increased Creativity?

It seems as though the typical stereotype surrounding video games is that if a gamer plays them too much, their brain will turn into mush. I’m sure that there are many individuals whose parents have told them something very similar to that; however, a new study that was recently released disagrees with this belief.

According to a report from researchers at Michigan State University, first reported by CNET, children that play video games seem to be more creative.

The study was published in the journal called Computers in Human Behavior, and it observed 491 12-year-old boys and girls. According to the study, the children that played video games were more creative. They were able to perform in a more creative manner when it came to drawing pictures and writing stories. The study also made sure to mention that it did not matter whether or not the video games that the children were playing were violent.

Linda Jackson is the psychology professor at MSU that headed up the study about children, video games and creativity. She said that after considering the findings of the study, she believes that game developers should use the information from the study and work to find which parts of video games help to stimulate creativity in children.

“Once they do that, video games can be designed to optimize the development of creativity while retaining their entertainment values such that a new generation of video games will blur the distinction between education and entertainment,” Jackson said in a statement.

One thing to consider is that creativity is a trait that is subjective and can be very difficult to measure. The study used a test called the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking. This is a test that is “widely used,” and it asked the children that participated in the study to participate in different activities such as drawing an “interesting and exciting” picture. Researchers looked at the picture in terms of shapes, the title of the picture and the story written about it.

The study also investigated whether or not there was a link between a child’s creativity and their use of other types of technology like a cell phone, the Internet and computers. However, none of those seemed to have an effect on a child’s creativity, unless the computer use was to play video games on the computer. Video games of all different genres were found to have a distinct correlation between the creativity of children, both boys and girls, regardless of the race of the child.

I think that it is incredibly interesting that the study found a correlation between playing video games and creativity. I know that my thirteen-year-old brother will now be using this study as an excuse to play video games every time my mom questions him about playing so much. I definitely never would have thought that playing video games could increase creativity, but according to the study, it does. I agree with Jackson when she says that video game developers need to pay attention to the results of the study. There are definitely some interesting things that they could do with video games if they were able to find what aspect of games helps to promote creativity, and if they could target whatever aspect that is, maybe parents wouldn’t be as hesitant about letting their kids play video games as much.

Source: PCMag - Study Links Creativity to Playing Video Games

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