Playing video games like Minecraft may help to get your child’s creative juices flowing, new research suggests.
Video games that foster creative freedom can increase creativity under certain conditions, according to a study from Iowa State University (ISU).
Their experiment compared the effect of playing Minecraft, with or without instruction, to watching a TV show or playing a race car video game.
Those given the freedom to play Minecraft without instruction were most creative, experts found.
Minecraft is like a virtual Lego world.
The game, which has sold more than 100 million copies, allows players to explore unique worlds and create anything they can imagine.
Study participants randomly assigned to play Minecraft were split into two groups.
The one receiving instruction was told to play as creatively as possible.
After 40 minutes of play or watching TV, the 352 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.
Surprisingly, those instructed to be creative while playing Minecraft were the least creative.
Douglas Gentile, a professor of psychology from ISU who oversaw the study. says there’s no clear explanation for this finding.
‘It’s not just that Minecraft can help induce creativity, there seems to be something about choosing to do it that also matters,’ he said in a written statement.