Children are often told by their parents to stay away from video games because of their negative effects on the brain, eyesight and multiple other reasons. However, according to a new study, such entertainment may actually be good for kids, if played in moderation. A research conducted by Iowa State University reveals that playing video games under certain conditions is linked to improved creativity. They help to broaden the mind and foster confidence amongst children. The research team conducted experiments to compare the effects of playing Minecraft, with or without instruction, with the effects of watching a TV show or playing a race car video game.
In the study, 352 school going teenagers were asked to play or watch TV for 40 minutes, followed by performing 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, which 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.
Professor of psychology Douglas Gentile, revealed why the creative Minecraft players performed worst in the ensuing creativity test. He 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,” researcher Jorge Blanco-Herrera added. 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 reminded of the negative impacts of video games, we might also want to acknowledge their educational aspects.