Fantasy versus Reality: How video game and book genres associate with creative thinking

University essay from Linnéuniversitetet/Institutionen för psykologi (PSY)

Abstract: Video games have suffered a negative reputation regarding their influence on children and adolescents, in comparison to its “well-behaved” counterpart, books. Nevertheless, the world of video games is much more diverse than imaginable – from fantasy to reality – and it is possible that different types of video games have different effects on human cognition and behavior. To fill a gap in research, fantasy and non-fantasy genres were the focal point of the correlational study. In this study, we analyze how video game playing habits, video game genre preference, book reading habits and book reading preferences are correlated with creative thinking. Construal level theory explains the importance of psychological distances in enhancing creativity. Fantasy and fiction content, as well as role play, are theorized to be part of creativity due to generation of distance and abstract thinking. Creativity was measured by insight problems and a categorization task. Abstract thinking was also measured by the Behavioral Identification Form. The questionnaire was given out to 154 students during lunch hours at a university in Sweden, throughout the period of March 2019. The results indicated that preference in a genre, whether gaming or literature, did not indicate significant differences in creative thinking. However, the consumption and habit of playing role-play games showed a significant correlation to creativity in comparison to its “rival” – action games. Results showed the same effects for fiction literature versus non-fiction. Theoretical and practical implications for organizations and the workplace are discussed, as well as limitations of the study.

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