It's Out Now - Video games may improve creativity of pupils


Written on Tuesday, May 20, 2008 by Gemini

Washington: A US researcher has found that video games – with the power to energise players and induce a positive mood – may help increase a person’s creativity.

S Shyam Sundar, a professor of Film, Video and Media Studies at Penn State University undertook the study with a graduate student named Elizabeth Hutton with a view to understanding the value of video games as a vehicle for sparking positive social traits, such as creativity.

During the study, 98 college students were asked to play a popular video game known as ‘Dance Dance Revolution’, at various levels of complexity. The students took a standard creativity test after playing, and the researchers also asked them whether they were feeling either positive or negative after the game.

Upon a statistical analysis of the two emotional variables and the students’ creativity scores, the researchers found two totally different groups with high scores. The researchers noted that players with a high degree of arousal and positive mood were most likely to have new ideas for problem solving.

They also observed that creativity scores were highest for players with low arousal and a negative mood.

According to the researchers, their findings appear to show that either high or low arousal is key to creativity, and that medium amounts of arousal are not conducive to “thinking out of the box”. “When you are highly aroused, the energy itself acts as a catalyst, and the happy mood acts as an encouragement. It is like being in a zone where you cannot be thrown off your game,” said Sundar, who is also a founder of the Penn State Media Effects Research Laboratory.

He says that a negative mood, especially when there is low arousal, brings a different kind of energy that makes a person more analytical, which is also crucial to creativity. Sundar also said that video games can be used in classrooms to energise students and improve their creativity, and in companies to improve corporate decision-making.

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