Objective: This study was designed to examine possible new aspects of creative activity related to virtual environments.
Design: The 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 years old, recruited on a snow-ball basis) were required to build staying at a distance 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 evaluated 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 activity and 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 ideas referred to (the whole structure, a particular component of the structure, or an element of the structure); and the status of the verbalized ideas (implemented or unimplemented).
Results and Conclusion: The results show that participants produced significantly more ideas and took significantly less time to build the prescribed structure (a house or a ship) within the individual session compared to the dyadic session. The originality of their ideas was measured by two psychologists independently: the two measures turned out to be close (r=0.876); the number of original ideas produced during individual and dyadic sessions do not differ significantly. Analysis of the implementation of the ideas showed that, within the dyadic sessions, participants produced significantly fewer ideas which were subsequently implemented. For the most part they frequently dropped and left unimplemented ideas referring to the levels of either components or elements of the structure. The results also showed that intentions were the only type of ideas which, after being generated equally often in the individual and dyadic sessions, were more often left unimplemented in the group sessions, compared to the individual sessions.
Keywords: creativity, online gaming, dyadic vs. individual activity, idea generation, Minecraft