The kind of sports participation you engage in during childhood influences your level of creativity later in life, according to research findings from The University of Texas at Austin’s College of Education.
In a study published last month in Creativity Research Journal, assistant professor Matt Bowers found a significant negative relationship between overall creativity and hours spent playing organized sports and a significant positive relationship between overall creativity and hours spent on unstructured sports activities.
To determine whether there is a link between sports involvement and creativity, Bowers and his research team explored the amount of time their adult study participants spent in various leisure activities during childhood and their current creative aptitude. Bowers was particularly interested in the amount of time they spent playing organized sports compared with unstructured, informal, pickup sports.
Bowers began the study with little expectation of definitive findings, but the results were surprisingly clear.
According to his analysis, which included 99 upper-division undergraduate and graduate students ranging in age from 19 to 33, there is a significant negative relationship between overall creativity and hours spent playing organized sports, and a significant positive relationship between overall creativity and hours spent playing informal sports.
“We chose that age range because previous research suggests for many individuals the developmental peak in creative thinking occurs between the ages of 21 and 29, the typical range for upper-division undergraduates and most masters-level graduate students,” said Bowers, who is in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Education.