Children who watch fantasy films, such as Harry Potter, have better imagination and creativity skills, according to research out of Lancaster University in the United Kingdom. The study is the first of its kind to link magical thinking and creativity in preschool children.
Researchers studied two groups of four- to six-year-old children, showing them two 15-minute clips from Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone.
The findings show that, after watching the clips, the group who watched the magical scenes scored “significantly better” in creativity tests than children in the other group who watched scenes without magic in them. The creativity tests included the children being asked to pretend they were rabbits or driving a car and quizzed on different ways of putting plastic cups in a bin and alternative uses for the cups.
“Magical thinking [believing in supernatural events] enables children to create fantastic imaginary worlds, and in this way enhances children’s capacity to view the world and act upon it from multiple perspectives,” the researchers said. “The results suggested that books and videos about magic might serve to expand children’s imagination and help them to think more creatively.”
I’m curious if this research extends to adults. Do grown-ups who prefer to watch Game of Thrones or True Blood exhibit increased imagination more so than those who enjoy Mad Men or Breaking Bad? Also, how does magical thinking as a child shape your adult life when you have to live in the “real world”?