Thursday, October 31st, 2013
Many proponents of the arts have contended that participation in childhood has many benefits which extend past the arts. A new study by researchers at Michigan State University adds to this argument by providing evidence that arts and crafts in childhood promote innovation in adulthood, particularly as an entrepreneur.
The researchers studied the professional trajectories of students majoring in STEM (science, technology, education, math) between 1990 and 1995. These graduates were much more likely than the average adult to participate in a wide variety of arts in childhood, including music and visual arts. Furthermore, childhood exposure to specific areas – such as photography – was predictive of future innovation (e.g., obtaining a patent). And persistence mattered – those who had sustained experiences in the arts were more innovative as measured by a number of indicators (e.g., patents, businesses created, professional publications).
While cause and effect is always slippery in these types of studies, it’s becoming clear that the processes that are encouraged in the arts in childhood – what the research team refers to as “out of the box” thinking skills that pull on imagination and creation – carry over to many different fields. So as we debate the utility of emphasizing (or even preserving) the arts in childhood, it continues to be important to remember that the arts promote what we most want for our kids – innovation and success.Add a Comment