Positive news for gamers, and their parents. Hours in front of the glowing box hammering zombies as a youngster can make you more creative.
A test of 491 12-year-olds found that the more they played video games, they more creative they were. The research by Linda A Jackson, a Professor of Psychology at Michigan State University, has been published in current issue of journal Computers in Human Behavior.
The correlation held good for girls and boys and across ethnicities. The type of computer game didn't matter either - games classed as violent or interpersonal produced the same positive correlation with creativity.
"The more kids played video games, the more creative they were in tasks such as drawing pictures and writing stories" Jackson said in a press release.
Playing with cell phones, the Internet and computers (other than for video games) was unrelated to creativity, the study found.
Jackon's team assessed how long the kids spent on different types of technological activities and then tested them with the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking to measure creative output, tallying up the two pieces of data. Torrance tests involve tasks such as drawing an "interesting and exciting" picture from a curved shape, giving the picture a title and then writing a story about it. Testees score better if their responses are unusual, infrequent, or elaborate.
Jackson's team have proposed future experiments to test out whether this positive relationship between gaming and creativity is causal and what if any aspects of games encourage creativity in their players. ®
'Information technology use and creativity: Findings from the Children and Technology Project', Linda A. Jackson, is published in Computers in Human Behavior