Video games have become an increasingly ubiquitous part of society due to the proliferation and use of mobile devices. Video Games and Creativity explores research on the relationship between video games and creativity with regard to play, learning, and game design. It answers such questions as:
- Can video games be used to develop or enhance creativity?
- Is there a place for video games in the classroom?
- What types of creativity are needed to develop video games?
While video games can be sources of entertainment, the role of video games in the classroom has emerged as an important component of improving the education system. The research and development of game-based learning has revealed the power of using games to teach and promote learning. In parallel, the role and importance of creativity in everyday life has been identified as a requisite skill for success.
- Summarizes research relating to creativity and video games
- Incorporates creativity research on both game design and game play
- Discusses physical design, game mechanics, coding, and more
- Investigates how video games may encourage creative problem solving
- Highlights applications of video games for educational purposes
Video Games and Creativity
Linda A. Jackson1; Alexander I. Games2 1 Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA
2 Microsoft Corporation, Inc., Redmond, WA, USA
In 2012, we published the results of a study titled "Information technology use and creativity: Findings from the Children and Technology Project". It was one of many studies generated from a National Science Foundation grant to conduct a 3-year longitudinal study of the effects of information technology use on children's cognitive, social, emotional, and motivation outcomes. Emphasis on video games as the sole information technology related to creativity was made explicit in an abridged version of the 2012 paper published in the same year.
These findings precipitated a flurry of media interest. Articles advocating children's video game playing to develop their creativity, among other beneficial effects, appeared in the Wall Street Journal (http://news.cnet.com/8301-27083_3-20129058-247/new-st/), the Miami Herald (http://www.miamihearld.com/2013/05/07/3403875/video-games-a-gateway-to-creativity.html), Science Daily (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111102125355.html), and the Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/babblecom/reasons-why-your-kids_b_2664141.html), among others. As flattering as such media attention may be we, as scientists, were concerned. How can the results of a single study, albeit a carefully executed, large sample, longitudinal study, be used as the basis for advocating video game playing to increase children's creativity? In this chapter, we demonstrate why our initial concerns were unfounded and why video game playing does indeed increase children's creativity as well as having other cognitive, social, emotional, and motivational benefits.
Explicit-implicit interaction (EII) theory
What Is Creativity? 4
Theories of Creativity 6
Ten Theoretical Approaches to Creativity 6
Honing Theory 7
Explicit-Implicit Interaction Theory 7
Computational Theory 7
Measurement of Creativity 8
Approaches to the Measurement of Creativity 8
The Psychometric Approach 8
Social-Personality Approach 9
Affective Approach 9
Neurobiological Approach 10
Measures of Creativity 10
Person-Focused Measures 10
Process-Focused Measures 12
Product-Focused Measures 12
Press/Environment-Focused Measures 12
Neurobiological Measures 13
What Are Video Games? 14
Video Game Genres 15
Video Game Industry Statistics 19
The Effects of Video Game Playing 19
Cognitive Effects 19
Social Effects 22
Emotional Effects 24
Motivational Effects 26
Why Video Game Playing Should Increase Creativity 27
Media References 38
What Is Creativity?
There is no doubt that creativity is the most important human resource of all.
Without creativity, there would be no progress, and we would be forever repeating the same patterns.
Edward de Bono (Lucas, 2003)
Before any discussion of the effects of video game playing on creativity it is important to define what we mean by creativity. From a historical perspective, Wallis (1926) is credited with the first formal theory of creativity. In Wallas's stage model, creative insights and illuminations are explained by a process consisting of five stages: (1) preparation-preparatory work on a problem that focuses the individual's mind on the problem and explores the problem's dimensions; (2) incubation-where the problem is internalized into the unconscious mind and nothing appears externally to be happening; (3) intimation-the creative person gets a "feeling" that a solution is on its way; (4) illumination or insight-where the creative idea bursts forth from its preconscious processing into conscious awareness; and (5) verification-where the idea is consciously verified, elaborated, and then applied. Wallas considered creativity to be a legacy of the evolutionary process which allowed humans to quickly adapt to rapidly changing environments. Simonton (1999) provides an updated perspective on this view in his book, Origins of genius: Darwinian perspectives on creativity.
In 1927, Alfred North Whitehead wrote the first scholarly book on creativity, Process and reality, reprinted in 1978. He is credited with having coined the term "creativity," still the preferred currency of exchange in literature, science, and the arts. In a later article titled "Creativity syndrome: Integration, application, and innovation," Mumford and Gustafon (1988) argued that, in many ways, the ultimate concern in studies of creativity is the production of novel, socially valued products. They suggested that an integration and reorganization of cognitive structures is likely to underlie major creative contributions and that the application of existing cognitive structures is likely to underlie minor contributions. Extending this interpretation to the processes traditionally held to underlie individual differences in creativity, they noted that both major and minor forms of creativity require a number of different knowledges, skills, and abilities. Furthermore, effective translation of ideas into action will depend on a variety of individual (Person) and situational (Environmental) factors.
Two important issues raised in Mumford and Gustafon's (1988) article concern the roles of intelligence and divergent thinking in creativity. They concluded, as have many researchers since then, that intelligence is important to creativity "up to a point," beyond which greater intelligence does not lead to greater creativity (Habibollah, Rohani, Aizan, Sharir, & Kumar, 2010; O'Hara & Sternberg, 1999; Silvia, 2008). Divergent thinking, on the other hand, is critical to creativity. It was Guilford (1950, 1967a) who first drew the distinction between convergent and divergent thinking. Convergent thinking is the ability to apply rules to arrive at a single "correct" solution to a problem, such as the answer to an achievement test question. This process is systematic and linear. Divergent thinking, on the other hand, involves the creative generation of multiple answers to a set of problems. It occurs in a spontaneous, free-flowing, "nonlinear" manner. It is sometimes used as a synonym for creativity in the psychological literature but, as Mumford and Gustafon (1988) and other researchers later pointed out, there is far more to creativity than divergent thinking (Csikszentmihalyi, 1999; Kozbelt, Beghetto, & Runco, 2010; Meusburger, Funke, & Wunder, 2009; Mumford, 2003; Runco & Albert, 2010; Sternberg, Kaufman, & Pretz, 2002).
In a later summary of the scientific research, Mumford suggested that "Over the course of the last decade we seem to have reached a general agreement that creativity involves the production of novel, useful products." Creativity can also be defined "as the process of producing something that is both original and worthwhile characterized by expressiveness and imagination" (Mumford, 2003, p. 110; see also Csikszentmihalyi, 1999, 2009; Lubart & Mouchiroud, 2003; Meusburger et al.,...