Video Games for Christmas

December 14, 2011 Katharina Lochner
video gaming and cognitive abilities

The Link Between Video Game Playing and Creativity

Do Video Do your children have video games on their Christmas gift list? Are you asking yourself the question whether or not to buy them the game they would like to have? Video games are often linked to violence. However, they also seem to be beneficial for children to some extent. Researchers have found interrelations between video game playing and creativity.

Linda A. Jackson and her colleagues Adward A. Witt, Alexander Ivan Games, Hiram E. Fitzgerald, Alexander von Eye, and Yong Zhao from Michigan State University had 491 children complete a creativity test and assessed their video game, computer, internet, and cell phone use. There was no link between computer, internet and cell phone use. However, the authors found video game use to be significantly correlated to different categories of creativity, for example, fluency and originality of ideas in drawing and writing tasks. They found the effect for action-adventure games as well as interpersonal, racing, sports, and even violent video games.

The original article will be published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, and there is an outline of the study on USA Today.

The fact that there is a correlation between video game use and creativity does not imply that video game use really causes children to be creative. It might as well be the other way round, or there might be a third factor that impacts both. In order to prove a causal relationship, an experiment will be necessary. If a causal relationship is found, what might be the mechanism behind it? Dipping into the video game world might exalt the imagination. Some games even require finding solutions for problems, like for example adventure games, which might enhance players’ creativity.

Thus, video games are likely to be beneficial for children’s creativity. Furthermore, C. Shawn Green and Daphne Bavelier demonstrated that videogames improve players’ visual-spatial skills, skills that are important for mathematics and engineering. From this point of view, it is probably not the worst thing to buy your children the game they would like to have for Christmas. However, it is important to keep in mind that social contacts, physical exercise, and playing in the “real world” is just as important for kids. It’s all in the mix!

About the Author

Katharina Lochner

Dr Katharina Lochner is the former research director for the cut-e Group which was acquired by Aon in 2017. Katharina is now a researcher and lecturer at the University of Applied Sciences Europe in Iserlohn, Germany. In her role at cut-e, she applied the research in organizational and work psychology to real-world assessment practice. She has a strong expertise in the construction and evaluation of online psychometric tools.

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