We’re all too familiar with the studies linking excessive video game playing to negative things like obesity, inactivity, eye strain, even joint pain, but a recent study from Michigan State University shed new light on video game playing, in a positive way.
According to researchers at the University who studied the gaming habits of 500 12-year-olds, the more the kids played video games, the more creative they were in tasks such as drawing pictures and writing stories.
With almost three quarters of the households in the U.S. playing video games (or computer games), it’s an activity that appeals to all age groups and is one that is definitely not losing steam. The researchers studied middle-school students and used a testing method called the Torrance Test of Creativity-Figural to come to this conclusion. One of the activities in the Torrance Test requires kids to draw an “interesting” picture from a curved shape that is provided to them, and then create a story about it. Again, the kids that played more video games scored higher on these creativity tests. Interestingly, they found no link to kids’ usage of the Internet and cell phones with creativity.
The head researcher, Linda Jackson, hopes that video game manufacturers can heed these study results and focus on aspects of video game playing that affects creativity. She said in a press release: "Once they do that, video games can be designed to optimize the development of creativity while retaining their entertainment values such that a new generation of video games will blur the distinction between education and entertainment."
But as with any study, it needs to be taken with a grain of salt. This doesn’t mean that you should suddenly let your child play hours upon hours of his favorite Wii game, but I can see the connection between creativity and exposure to vivid graphics, imagery and animation. As long as your kids are playing age-appropriate games and don’t need to be surgically removed from their Wii nunchuks, a little extra creativity never hurts.
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