Opposed to the traditional belief that playing video games is purely an addicting hobby, a recent study, which is published in the Creativity Research Journal, revealed a rare result: creative production.
Iowa State University, which authored the research, concludes that playing video games boosts creativity. This promotes creative freedom; therefore, can increase creativity under particular situations.
Scientists specifically compared the effect of playing Minecraft to watching TV shows or playing a race car video games. Those who played without supervision were generally inventive.
In the virtual Lego world of Minecraft, players are allowed to explore unique worlds and create anything they can imagine. The scientists used this means for the instructions given to the participants.
The 352 participants were randomly grouped into two: the members in Group 1 were being taught to be creative while playing, while the members in Group 2 were not supervised.
After 40 minutes of playing in front of the TV and then performance assessment, those in Group 2 were labeled as more imaginative and resourceful than those in Group 1.
Douglas Gentile, a Psychology professor who conducted the study, said, “It’s not just that Minecraft can help induce creativity. There seems to be something about choosing to do it that also matters. However, there’s no clear explanation for this finding.”
Also, Jorge Blanco-Herrea, a lead author and former master’s student in Psychology said, “Being told to be creative may have limited their options while playing, resulting in a less creative experience. It’s also possible they used all their ‘creative juices’ while playing and had nothing left when it came time to complete the test.”
Nonetheless, playing video games would really require some level of creativity: players create a character and stories to have a reward of creative strategies in competitive sports. Researchers even mentioned that even first-person in a shooting game is likely to do creative things as he might think about the policies and look for advantages to survive the combat.
“The research is starting to tell a more interesting, nuanced picture. Our results are similar to other gaming research in that you get better at what you practice, but how you practice might matter just as much,” Gentile added. Scientists pointed out that “based on these findings, it is important not to disregard the potential video games have, as engaging and adaptive educational opportunities.”