Study: Video gaming makes kids more creative

Following up on our recent article 7 Reasons Why Your Kids Should Play Video Games, there’s more positive news for young gamers and their long-suffering parents. A new study published in the current issue of Computers in Human Behavior suggests that playing games can make children more creative.

The research, conducted by a team at Michigan State University, looked at 491 12-year-olds and found that the more they played video games, the better they scored on creativity tests. The correlation held good for girls and boys and across all ethnicities.

“The more kids played video games, the more creative they were in tasks such as drawing pictures and writing stories,” said Professor of Psychology, Linda A. Jackson, who led the research.

Jackson's team assessed how long the kids spent on different types of technological activities and then tested them with a tool called the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking, which measures creative output. Torrance tests involve tasks such as drawing an “interesting and exciting” picture from a prompt, giving the picture a title, and then writing a story about it. Students score based on their originality, the level of detail, and the number of ideas included in their response.

Although researchers noted that boys tended to gravitate towards violent video games and sports titles, and girls were drawn to titles where there was a lot of character interaction, the type of game had no bearing on the results. The researchers also found no link between creativity and interaction with other technological activities, such as playing with cell phones, surfing the Internet, or using computers (other than for video games).

Jackson's team have proposed future experiments to test out whether this positive relationship between gaming and creativity is causal and what, if any, aspects of games encourage creativity in their players.

Do you believe video gaming can make children more creative? Share your thoughts with The Online Mom!

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