Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science





First Advisor

Douglas A. Gentile


Most psychological studies concerning the learning effects of video games have focused on action video games. These popular games emphasize quick-paced combat, narratives, player agency, and problem solving. Although many studies have focused on aggression or visual-spatial cognition effects from the quick-paced combat, the problem-solving aspects have been largely ignored. The present study seeks to expand the existing literature on video game effects by focusing on a rarely-tested outcome: creative production.

As a game with few rules and a high amount of player freedom, Minecraft exemplifies a game that fosters players’ abilities for creative expression. This experimental study compares the effect of playing Minecraft on creativity measures compared to watching a TV show (passive control), a driving game (game control), and playing Minecraft with specific instructions (an instructional control).

A within-subjects analysis (n=350) found a significant correlation between trait creativity and game play habits. Between-groups analyses showed that players randomly assigned to play Minecraft without instruction demonstrated significantly higher scores on post-game creativity measures compared to those who played Minecraft with instructions to “be creative,”, those who played a driving game, or those who watched a television show. Results indicate that effects are not solely predicted by game mechanics, but also by the way the player plays.

Copyright Owner

Jorge Alberto Blanco-Herrera



File Format


File Size

73 pages