Skip to main content

New study links increased creativity to video games


Scheduled to be published in the March 2011 edition of the journal Computers in Human Behavior, new research shows that interaction with video games increases the creativity of children. The study was originally designed to test a link between technology use and creativity, but only video games showed a sizable impact on creativity on both boys and girls. Other technology such as smartphones, computers and the Internet didn’t show similar results. The test was conducted on a sample group of 491 12-year-old children by researchers involved in at Michigan State University’s Children and Technology Project. 

kid-ipad-driving-gameLinda Jackson, the lead researcher on the project, tested children by asking them to draw an “interesting and exciting” picture starting with a curved shape already printed on the page. Follow-up tasks included writing a story about the picture as well as giving both a title. This is known as the Torrance Test of Creativity Thinking, a widely used test for creativity measurement. After being exposed to video games, there was a clear increase in creativity of the submitted work. It didn’t matter if the games were non-violent or violent, but boys preferred sports and violent games while girls preferred games that promoted interaction between both human and computer generated characters. There was also no correlation to race, gender or genre of game played.

The set of games used in the test included Need for Speed, The Legend of Zelda, Madden NFL Football, Super Smash Brothers, Animal Crossing, Half-Life 2, Spider Solitaire and various Star Wars titles. The researchers hope that the findings from the study will be analyzed by gaming developers and publishers in order to specifically identify elements of a game that increase creativity. With that further research, a gaming developer could create a highly successful series of games that blur the line between entertainment and education. 

Editors' Recommendations

Mike Flacy
By day, I'm the content and social media manager for High-Def Digest, Steve's Digicams and The CheckOut on Ben's Bargains…
Xbox 360 has a huge lead in online game sales, says NPD

Microsoft's early lead into online gaming with Xbox Live has proven fruitful during the lifespan of the Xbox 360, according to a new NPD report. Several charts released by the sales-tracking company show that the 360 has held a considerable lead in sales of online playable games and Online game cards since its release in 2006. Though no actual numbers are shown, Microsoft's console has only widened its lead in recent years.

Gamasutra reports that retailers have sold almost four times as many Xbox 360 digital points cards than PS3 in 2010 and both systems easily toppled the Wii. However, these numbers don't take into account the number of digital points gamers buy on the consoles themselves.
In addition, though core gamers are still an important segment of the market, it looks like "digital gamers," or players that download games mostly through digital distribution, are becoming a large force in the market. According to NPD, they already acquire an average of 5.9 games every three months compared to a Core gamer's 5.4. They also log 16 hours a week, right behind Core gamers' 18. Core gamers are about 23 percent of the total market, followed by family and kid gamers at 22 percent and "avid" / PC gamers each occupying 15 percent. Digital gamers, sadly, are still a small fraction of the market. We should also note that a digital game is often much cheaper than a physical game, often by a multiple of 10.
Finally, NPD has a few graphs showing a big expansion--and fast trail-off--of motion-controlled game sales beginning last year when the PlayStation Move and Xbox Kinect were released. Sony's other big initiative--3D games--had a similar bump and fall as demand peaked at 25 percent of total game sales in November and leveled off to somewhere between 10 and 15 percent through April 2011.

Read more
April charts: Video game sales jump 20 percent

After many disappointing months, NPD reports that total U.S. sales of video game products reached $961.2 million in April, up 20 percent from $802.4 million a year ago. Software performed stronger still, with sales climbing 26 percent thanks to strong showings by Mortal Kombat and Portal 2. This is the first month since November, says NPD analyst Anita Frazier, that video game software saw increases in both dollars and number of units sold.

Top 10 games for April

Read more
No new PlayStation, Xbox console til 2014

Last we heard, the next Xbox console was speculated to debut in 2015, but a new report from Kotaku claims that PlayStation and Xbox are aiming for 2014. “Industry sources” say that Sony and Microsoft are both planning to squeeze as much life out the PS3 and Xbox 360 as possible before introducing the next generation versions.

Does three years feel like an eternity to you? Maybe – the Xbox 360 was introduced in 2005, and the PS3 in 2006. Both consoles are just now hitting their strides with new software that is pushing the hardware to its limits, but both systems may start showing their age sooner rather than later. So for those that are ready for the next-gen, the good news is that an insider said 2013 isn’t out of the picture, but only if one of them “feels pushed.” There is also a chance that a 2013 product launch for Microsoft could be a “Kinect-upgraded 360,” followed by the upgraded console the next year. PlayStation gamers have no such luck with an earlier upgrade: Spokesperson Patrick Seybold said Sony PlayStation is “laser-focused” on its existing lineup and coming handheld device.

Read more