While video games are mainly a source of entertainment, new research suggests some games can also get your creative juices flowing. In a recent study, researchers from Iowa State University found that video games such as Minecraft may help increase creativity when players are given the freedom to play as they want, with no instruction.
The new study looked at 352 students at the university who were randomly assigned to four groups. Two of the groups were assigned to play Minecraft, a virtual Lego-like game where you can build anything you can imagine. But while one of the groups was asked to play as they wished for 40 minutes, the other group received the instruction to play as creatively as possible. A third group was asked to play a racing car video game, which doesn’t allow players to be as creative as Minecraft, while participants in the fourth group were asked to passively watch a television show.
After 40 minutes of play or watching TV, the participants completed several creativity tasks, one of which involved drawing a creature from another planet. More human-like creatures scored low for creativity and those less human-like scored high.
The findings showed that the participants who were randomly assigned to play Minecraft without any instruction received significantly higher scores on the creativity task compared to participants in the other groups. Whether this actually means playing Minecraft will make you more creative is still debatable, but it’s definitely something to keep in mind.