In an experimental study published in the Journal of Creativity Research, researchers analyzed 352 participants. They compared the effects of playing Minecraft, with or without instruction, to watching a TV show or playing a race car video game.
After 40 minutes of drama or watching TV, participants completed a number of creative tasks. To measure creative production, they were asked to draw an animal from a world much different than Earth. More human-like creatures scored lower for creativity and less human-like creatures scored higher.
It was found that those who were given the freedom to play Minecraft – a game that allowed players to explore unique worlds and create anything they could imagine – were the most creative without instructions when instructed to be creative while playing Minecraft. Were less creative.
“It’s not just that Minecraft can help inspire creativity,” said Douglas Gentile, a professor at Iowa State University.
There is no clear explanation for this finding, but there could be some possible reasons why the proposed Minecraft group scored less, said Jorge Blanco-Herrera, lead author of the study from the university.
“Suggestions may have changed the motivation of the subjects for the game. Saying to be creative will probably limit their options while playing, resulting in less creative experience.
“It is also possible that they used all their ‘creative juice’ while playing and when it came time to complete the test they had nothing left,” he said.
Most video games encourage players to practice a certain level of creativity. For example, players can create a character and story for role-playing games or win prizes for creative strategies in competitive games, the researchers said.