Want To Boost Creativity?
Video games that promote creativity and freedom can increase creativity in certain
conditions, according to new research from Iowa State University. The experimental study
compared the results of playing Minecraft with or without instruction, with watching a
television show or playing the race car game. The players who were allowed to play
Minecraft without instruction were most creative.
"It's not just that Minecraft can help induce creativity. There seems to be something in the
choice to do it that is important," said Douglas Gentile who is a professor of psychology.
If you are not familiar with the game, Gentile says Minecraft is an online Lego world. The
game has sold more than 100,000,000 copies. It lets players create any kind of world they
wish to create. Study participants randomly assigned to play Minecraft were split into two
groups. The instructions were given to the participant who was playing Minecraft.
After 40 minutes of playing or watching television, the 352 participants completed a variety of
tasks. They were asked to draw a creature that could be found on a planet different from
Earth to test their imagination. The scores for creativity were lower for creatures that are
more human-like than those that are less human-like. Surprisingly enough, those who were
instructed to be creative when playing Minecraft were the least imaginative.
Gentile says there's no clear reason to explain this phenomenon. In the paper published by
Creativity Research Journal, he, Jorge Blanco-Herrera, author of the paper and former
master's student in psychology; and Jeffrey Rokkum, former Ph.D. student in psychology,
discussed possible reasons for why the instructed Minecraft group scored lower. Blanco-
Herrera believes that the instruction might have affected subjects their motivation to play.
"Being told to be creative might have limited their options while playing, resulting in a less
creative experience," Blanco-Herrera said. "It's also possible they used all t