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A young Picasso or Beethoven could be the next Edison
Date:10/23/2013

Good news for parents: Those pricey piano lessons or random toy parts littering your floors may one day lead to the next scientific breakthrough.

That's according to new Michigan State University research linking childhood participation in arts and crafts activities to patents generated and businesses launched as adults.

In the study, which is published in the most recent edition of the journal Economic Development Quarterly, the researchers defined "childhood" as up to 14 years old.

The team of multidisciplinary researchers studied a group of MSU Honors College graduates from 1990 to 1995 who majored in science, technology, engineering or mathematics, or STEM. They found of that group, those who own businesses or patents received up to eight times more exposure to the arts as children than the general public.

"The most interesting finding was the importance of sustained participation in those activities," said Rex LaMore, director of MSU's Center for Community and Economic Development. "If you started as a young child and continued in your adult years, you're more likely to be an inventor as measured by the number of patents generated, businesses formed or articles published. And that was something we were surprised to discover."

Musical training seems to be important. The researchers found 93 percent of the STEM graduates reported musical training at some point in their lives, as compared to only 34 percent of average adults, as reported by the National Endowment for the Arts. The STEM graduates also reported higher-than-average involvement in the visual arts, acting, dance and creative writing.

In addition, those who had been exposed to metal work and electronics during childhood were 42 percent more likely to own a patent than those without exposure, while those involved in architecture were 87.5 percent more likely to form a company. And children with a photography background were 30 percent m
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Contact: Kristen Parker
kristen.parker@cabs.msu.edu
517-353-8942
Michigan State University
Source:Eurekalert  

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