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Study: Playing Video Games can Help in Increasing Creativity

For example, players may create a character and story for role-playing games or be rewarded for creative strategies in competitive games, said researchers

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video games, creativity
Most video games encourage players to practice some level of creativity. Wikimedia Commons

Playing video games may not be as bad as we always thought and certain games that foster creative freedom can help in increasing creativity, researchers say. In the experimental study published in the Creativity Research Journal, the researchers analysed 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 play or watching TV, the participants completed several creativity tasks. To measure creative production, they were asked to draw a creature from a world much different than Earth. More human-like creatures scored low for creativity and those less human-like scored high.

It was found that those given the freedom to play Minecraft – a game that allows players to explore unique worlds and create anything they can imagine – without instructions were the most creative while those instructed to be creative while playing Minecraft were the least creative.

video game, creativity
After 40 minutes of play or watching TV, the participants completed several creativity tasks. Wikimedia Commons

“It’s not just that Minecraft can help induce creativity. There seems to be something about choosing to do it that also matters,” said Douglas Gentile, Professor at the Iowa State University. There is no clear explanation for this finding but there could be some possible reasons why the instructed Minecraft group scored lower, said study lead author Jorge Blanco-Herrera from the varsity.

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“The instructions may have changed subjects’ motivation for play. Being told to be creative may have actually limited their options while playing, resulting in a less creative experience. “It’s also possible they used all their ‘creative juices’ while playing and had nothing left when it came time to complete the test,” he said.

Most video games encourage players to practice some level of creativity. For example, players may create a character and story for role-playing games or be rewarded for creative strategies in competitive games, said researchers. (IANS)

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Researchers: Video Games can Help Children Evaluate, Express and Manage Emotions

Emotional intelligence can be better explained when there are emotions involved from both sides

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Video games, Children, Emotions
Video games may improve the expression of emotions, but awareness and coping strategies can't be solely understood by games. PIxabay

While it’s commonly believed that video games are harmful for children, researchers have found that it can help them evaluate, express and manage emotions when used as part of an emotional intelligence training programme.

“Video games may improve the expression of emotions, but awareness and coping strategies can’t be solely understood by games. Emotional intelligence can be better explained when there are emotions involved from both sides,” Manish Jain, Consultant at BLK Super Speciality Hospital, Delhi, told IANS.

According to the study published in the Games for Health Journal, researchers from the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Italy developed an emotional intelligence training programme that integrated video games as experience-based learning tools.

The researchers created EmotivaMente, a video game, to enhance emotional intelligence among adolescents, perhaps the group that could benefit the most. They analysed 121 adolescents who participated in eight sessions.

Video games, Children, Emotions
While it’s commonly believed that video games are harmful for children, researchers have found that it can help them evaluate. Pixabay

“Games for health have been designed to address an increasing variety of issues. A relatively new health issue is emotional intelligence, which has implications for various health problems, including coping with stress,” said Tom Baranowski, Professor at the Baylor College of Medicine in the US.

The preliminary evaluation indicated that video games enhanced the students’ evaluation and expression of emotions.

But some experts believe outdoor activities should be given more importance to develop emotional intelligence, which includes awareness of emotions, managing emotions effectively and maintaining relationships, in children.

“In the modern day where interaction is increasingly becoming online and more time is spent indoors, the right way to build emotional intelligence is people-to-people interactions and connecting, spending quality time with peers and family, learning through experiences and feedback,” Samir Parikh, Consultant Psychiatrist and Director at Fortis Mental Health Programme in Delhi, told IANS.

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“Video games are not the most prudent way to enhance emotional skills. Young people should have a well-balanced life with adequate outdoor activities and investment of time and energy in building relationships by working on communication and person-to-person connect,” Parikh said.

Sagar Lavania, Head of Department, Psychiatry and Mental Health, Nayati Medicity, Mathura, believes “human and one-on-one interactions are ideal ways to increase emotional intelligence, especially among adolescents, and can never be substituted by alternative methods”.

“However, if newer techniques are coming up, it needs to be thoroughly researched and supervised, keeping in mind the vulnerability of teenagers,” he remarked. (IANS)