Experiencing different cultures enhances creativity

June 30, 2010

Creativity can be enhanced by experiencing cultures different from one's own, according to a study in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

Three studies looked at students who had lived abroad and those who hadn't, testing them on different aspects of creativity. Relative to a control group, which hadn't experienced a different culture, participants in the different culture group provided more evidence of creativity in various standard tests of the trait. Those results suggest that multicultural learning is a critical component of the adaptation process, acting as a creativity catalyst.

The researchers believe that the key to the enhanced creativity was related to the students' open-minded approach in adapting to the new culture. In a global world, where more people are able to acquire multicultural experiences than ever before, this research indicates that living abroad can be even more beneficial than previously thought.

"Given the literature on structural changes in the brain that occur during intensive learning experiences, it would be worthwhile to explore whether neurological changes occur within the creative process during intensive foreign culture experiences," write the authors, William W. Maddux, Hajo Adam, and Adam D. Galinsky. "That can help paint a more nuanced picture of how foreign culture experiences may not only enhance but also, perhaps literally, as well as figuratively, broaden the mind.

Explore further: Emotionally ambivalent workers are more creative, innovative

More information: The article "When in Rome… Learn Why the Romans Do What They Do: How Multicultural Learning Experiences Facilitate Creativity" in the June 2010 issue of Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin is available free for a limited time at psp.sagepub.com/cgi/reprint/36/6/731

Related Stories

Computer Games Can Make Kids More Social, Not Less

March 25, 2008

Contrary to common education wisdom, computer games and other technologies can foster community-building, a strong sense of identity and higher-level planning even in very young students, UC Davis researchers report.

Recommended for you

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.