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Article

Creativity in online gaming: individual and dyadic performance in Minecraft

Psychology in Russia: State of the Art. 2017. Vol. 10. No. 4. P. 144-161.
Voiskounsky A. E., Ermolova T., Yagolkovskiy S. R., Хромова В. М.

The study was designed to examine possibly new aspects of creative activity related to virtual environments. Online gaming interface Minecraft was used to construct (on computer screens) complex structures such as buildings from ready-made blocks. Two modes were used: individual and dyadic. Participants (N=49, 29 males and 20 females, 18 to 29 y.o., recruited on a snow-ball basis) were required to build distantly two complex structures: a ship and a house; each structure was required to be highly creative, i.e. unusual and never seen before. Creativity was estimated not by the final structure but by the number of ideas generated by the participants and produced either in practice or verbally. Each participant participated once in an individual and once in a dyadic session, the partners were selected randomly. The participants' verbal exchanges were performed via Skype; digital operations with the Minecraft interface were recorded using the FastStone Capture software package. All the ideas produced by participants were classified in accordance with the following criteria: type (conceptual, functional, selective, corrective, and intentional), level of the structure which the produced ideas referred to (the whole structure, a particular component of the structure, or an element of the structure), and the status of verbally produced ideas (implemented or unimplemented). The results show that participants produced significantly more ideas and consumed significantly less time to build the prescribed structure (a house or a ship) within the individual session compared with the dyadic session. Analysis of the implementation of ideas shows that, within the dyadic sessions, participants produced significantly less ideas which were subsequently implemented. For the most part they intensely dropped out and left unimplemented the ideas referring to the levels of either components or elements of the structure. Results also show that intentions were the only type of ideas which, being generated equally often in the individual and dyadic sessions, were more often left unimplemented in the group sessions, compared to the individual sessions.