Do Board Games Make People Smarter?: Two Initial Exploratory Studies

Do Board Games Make People Smarter?: Two Initial Exploratory Studies

Marco Bartolucci (Università degli Studi di Perugia, Perugia, Italy), Francesco Mattioli (Università degli Studi di Perugia, Perugia, Italy) and Federico Batini (Università degli Studi di Perugia, Perugia, Italy)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/IJGBL.2019100101

Abstract

In recent years, the authors have witnessed the rebirth of board games. This contribution aims to investigate the educational potential of non-random board games in two ways: the comparison of performances of “expert adult players” and “adult non-players” through a correlation study (n=45) and the comparison between the results achieved by a group of children after 26 hours of game training (n=10) and those of a control group that carried out traditional educational activities (n=10) by using a nonrandomized control group pretest-posttest. Specifically, the findings relating to fluid intelligence, analytical and converging cognitive processes and creativity were compared. The results suggest that non-random board games can be an important stimulus for the cognitive functions, with a particular focus on the creative side, and therefore have an important educational function.
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Introduction

In “The play of animals” Gross (1898) described some interesting animal behaviours. The wild peacocks, for every day. In turn, two of them at a time enter the circle and a real battle begins. If one of them leaves the circle, the fight stops. This bizarre behaviour, just like so many others described by Gross, can be traced back to just one thing: the game. Like the animals, we also play, and in fact we are “Homo-Ludens” (Huizinga, 1967). The poet Friedrich Schiller said that man is entirely man only when he plays. Lorenz “believed” that “both art and the yearning of man for knowledge are nothing more than outward signs of the great game in which nothing is predefined, except for the rules of the game itself.” (Lorenz, 1983, p. 64). Game is innate in our nature, curiosity is game, knowledge and art are game. In this contribution game is framed as a tool through which different situations can be “simulated” or “experienced,” so that learning can be structured and lead to the educational success.

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