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Video games can boost creativity, study finds

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The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Sun, July 14, 2019  /  08:09 pm
Video games can boost creativity, study finds

Minecraft is a world full of blocks, much like our world, just with more right angles. (Shutterstock/Levent Konuk)

Video games have become an inseparable part of our lives. Even though we may not play ourselves, people around us certainly do. While playing video games in moderation can be a good way to relax and create social interaction, excessive playing has negative effects.

A recent study conducted by Iowa State University reveals that playing video games under certain conditions is linked to improved creativity, Science Daily reports.

The research team conducted experiments to compare the effects of playing Minecraft –dubbed a virtual Lego world – with or without instruction, with the effects of watching a TV show or playing a race car video game.

In the study, 352 participants were asked to play or watch TV for 40 minutes and then do a number of creativity-testing tasks. One of the tasks was to draw a creature that differed much from those roaming the Earth. The more human-like the creature depicted, the lower the score.

The participants who had played Minecraft – a game that invites players to explore unique worlds and build imaginative creations – were divided into two groups, one of which had been instructed to play as creatively as possible.

Apparently, the group instructed to play Minecraft creatively scored lowest in the creativity test that followed the play.

Read also: Screen time for kids: The pros and cons of video games

Professor of psychology Douglas Gentile, together with fellow psychology scholars Jorge Blanco-Herrera and Jeffrey Rokkum, pointed to plausible reasons as to why the creative Minecraft players performed worst in the ensuing creativity test.

Blanco-Herrera said the instruction to be creative may have actually limited the players’ options in the game, hence making the experience less creative.

“It’s also possible they used all their ‘creative juices’ while playing and had nothing left when it came time to complete the test,” Blanco-Herrera was quoted as saying.

Minecraft aside, most video games require players to be creative to a certain degree, for example when they create a character or come up with stories or a special strategy to win competitive games.

While we are often remined of the negative impacts of video games, we might also want to acknowledge their educational aspects. (nic/mut)

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